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BREAKING: MSHSL reverses course, allows football and volleyball to be played this fall

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BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Minnesota State High School League voted to allow football and volleyball to be played this fall. The decision was made at a special meeting of the League's advisory board on Monday morning.

This is a reversal of the decision the MSHSL made on Aug. 4, when the League decided to only proceed with girls tennis, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls cross country and girls swimming for the fall sports season.

Football will start on Sept. 28. There will be a six-game regular season and the first games will happen on Oct. 9 and Oct. 10. The postseason will be discussed at a future meeting.

Volleyball matches will start on Sept. 28 with 10 days of preseason practice. The first competition date for volleyball will be Oct. 8. It will be an 11-week season with 14 dual competitions.

During the meeting, a board member pointed out that some athletes have joined other sports since volleyball wasn't originally offered. MSHSL leaders said those athletes will have to make decisions, but the league does allow for dual participation.

A MSHSL survey found that of the 394 member schools, 80% wanted football to resume in the fall. Seventy-six percent of schools wanted volleyball to resume as well.

On the conference call on Monday morning, Dawn Gillman from "Let Them Play" said the Walz administration confirmed there have been no deaths or hospitalizations from COVID-19 linked to sporting events. She said she would rather have a shortened fall season then moving football to the spring.

The data regarding the safety of sports is evolving, according to Dr. Bill Roberts, chair of the MSHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. He said there is not enough evidence yet to make a decision on that.

Dr. Roberts, who was a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine, said "not much" has changed from the board's previous meeting on Aug. 4.

Roberts said outdoor activity is safer than indoor activity, and being separated is better than athletes being in close contact. He said masking could be helpful but that's not a realistic solution for athletes when competing. A vaccine would be necessary to make it safer for athletes in close contact or poorly ventilated areas.

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Byron Tollefson

Mark Poulose

Mark Poulose is a Sports Reporter/Anchor at KTTC.

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