MSHSL going to district football
BROOKLYN CENTER — The Minnesota State High School League’s board of directors voted Thursday to transition to district football scheduling beginning with the 2015 season.
The change statewide comes in the wake of the recent formation of the Big South Conference —a conglomeration of the current Southwest Conference and South Central Conference — that area schools including Worthington, Luverne, Pipestone Area, Windom Area and Jackson County Central will be a part of.“This will affect us because of the schedule, but we saw this as a very possible outcome from the league,” Luverne activities director and head football coach Todd Oye said. “Any outstate Minnesota schools really needed this so that we could fill our schedules (better).”Scheduling groups will be formed based on several criteria including strength of program, school size and proximity with others. The districts will consist of at least 16 or more schools when possible, but the minimum size of any scheduling group would be 10. Districts could involve teams from more than one class.A placement committee will be created to put schools into scheduling groups and districts will be realigned every two years to make adjustments based on school size, 9-man teams, new cooperatives and dissolved programs. Enrollment differences in any group will be no more than a ratio of 2-to-1.Each district will be allowed to create schedules for themselves and districts can create conferences or other sub-groups within their district.“It will be very similar to what schools have with football-only conferences. You’ll get similar and like schools together you’ll be able to schedule. You won’t have that restriction of conferences anymore,” Oye said. “For schools that have all-conference team concerns, it seems to work well for anyone.”Also in the meeting, the board approved dates of Nov. 14-15 for the state championship, known as the Prep Bowl, which is two weeks earlier than it usually is held. It will be held at TCF Bank Stadium during the building of the new Vikings stadium.With the addition of district football, the season will also remain at eight games and the playoff format will remain unchanged. First football games, however, will be on a Saturday when scrimmages are usually held, leaving just two weeks of preseason practice for teams as opposed to the traditional three weeks.“The scrimmages are nice but are just as physically demanding as a game,” Oye said. “If you played your section, shortening the playoffs would make sense, but I think it is important to keep everyone in the postseason.”