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Chris Murphy, Published April 18 2013

MSHSL gives pointers on shortened seasons

FARGO – In his fifth year as the athletic director at Hawley (Minn.) High School, Brett Schmidt has never seen anything like the cancellations that have come this spring.

“What spring season?” Schmidt said.

The Minnesota State High School League issued a reminder to administrators on steps teams could take to get games in with the inevitable condensed season.

Below are the reminders:

• Teams are allowed to play until the end of the season (the final day of the state tournament in that sport) even if a team is eliminated from the tournament.

• Change dual contests to triangular or quadrangular ones in order to allow players to compete against more teams.

• Be sure to use every available Saturday for events.

• The National Federation of State High School Associations has agreed to allow five and sixinning doubleheaders in baseball and softball. If the second game ends early due to weather conditions or darkness, it can be considered a regulation game if 4½ or 5 innings have been completed.

• Compress the section tournament playoff format.

• Play when and where the field is ready. Go to where a field is ready rather than wait for home games.

• Tennis matches can utilize adjusted scoring for the third set and use the super tie-breaker format.

• Track and field meets are considered official meets even when specific field events, such as discus, cannot be conducted due to the condition of the venue.

• Conference play could be a single round rather than a double round.

Additionally, the reminder added that there is no plan to move state tournament dates for any sport. It read as follows:

“Given the number of changes that would need to be addressed at subsection, section, and state tournament sites, as well as family plans, summer jobs, camps and clinics, and other summer activities that would be conflicted, it doesn’t seem as if that’s an option that could realistically be considered.”

The format is bending in Minnesota, but certainly not breaking under the weight of Mother Nature.

“The most interesting one is that five or six-inning doubleheaders officially count as a game,” Schmidt said. “Now baseball and softball can play five and six-inning doubleheaders and count them as a full game.”

Schmidt agrees that changing the state tournament dates is too big of a hassle.

“I don’t believe you can do that,” Schmidt said. “You’re going to affect a lot of things, a lot of plans and different things. I don’t believe that that’s something that is easily done because of all the planning processes and the venues. There’s a lot of things in the background that once you stop and think about you realize that it would be a bad thing to do.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548