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Home Page Photo League adopts District Football scheduling plan for 2015 and beyond

Minnesota State High School League schools should no longer have a reason to travel far out of state to find football opponents or play less than an eight-game regular season football schedule. The League Board of Directors today unanimously adopted a plan that places all member schools with football programs into Districts. The members of each district will divide the district into sub-districts, and then create a full schedule for each team. In nearly all cases the placement of schools will not negatively affect traditional rivalries or preferred opponents.

For several years League staff, school administrators and football coaches have sought a solution for schools that have had difficulty filling their regular season football schedule. A committee of coaches, athletic administrators and Board members developed a District Football Scheduling System that was approved by the Board in January. A separate District Placement Committee made up of coaches and administrators worked hard to group schools into districts based on enrollment, geography and like schools, while also considering individual school preferences for maintaining traditional opponents.

"Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is just a step in the process of developing actual schedules for our member schools," explained Associate Director Kevin Merkle in presenting the plan to the Board. "Some districts have a wide range in school enrollment and geography, but once the districts determine their sub-district alignments, most of the enrollment and geographical issues will be solved."

The recommendation approved by the Board of Directors included:
  • Placement of all schools in a scheduling district
  • Final decision on appeals from schools who requested to be placed in 9-Man
  • Bylaws to guide the work of each district
  • Allowing limited inter-district play upon approval of the Board of Directors
  • A plan for the initial meetings for each district that will be lead by members of the District Football Placement Committee.

    The 10-member District Football Placement Committee met five times since mid-March to place schools in districts, using enrollment, geography, like schools and current conference membership and current opponents as key criteria. Schools were given the opportunity to provide information to the committee in advance, including three teams that they would like to continue to schedule. Those requests were reviewed carefully and were met to the extent possible. More than 90 percent of the schools' requests were met, and a significant majority of schools were placed in a district with most, if not all, of the schools that they now play.

    Districts will have initial meetings in the near future to discuss the placements and the next steps in the process. The next major step will be for districts to decide on sub-district alignments. Once that is completed, schedules for the 2015 and 2016 seasons can be developed. The goal is for all schools to have a complete schedule for both years by Nov. 1, 2014.

    "We are indebted to the members of the District Football Placement Committee for their diligence and hard work in this process," Merkle told the Board, "They put in an extraordinary amount of time and effort and their focus was always on doing what was best for our member schools and their students."

    To view the new football districts listing the schools placed in each district, click on the link below.
  • District Lists and Maps

    Prepping For A New Year, Including Zero Week Football
    Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 7/31/2014 11:43:33 AM

    Summer is rapidly winding down, with practices for fall sports officially beginning on Aug. 11. But 36 football teams will get a head start on the 2014 season, beginning practice on Aug. 4 and playing Zero Week games on Aug. 22 or 23.

    Zero Week is a tool that helps schools fill their eight-game regular-season schedules. All Zero Week teams will have a bye week later in the season, when no football-specific workouts can be held. With the debut of district football scheduling in 2015, Zero Week will not be needed.

    The MSHSL board of directors will hold its first meeting of 2014-15 on Aug. 5 at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Conference Center near Deerwood. The agenda for the meeting can be found on the mshsl.org main page under “League News.”

    I’m always on the lookout for great stories, and I’m excited as a new school year begins. Feel free to send me an email and tell me what’s happening with your team, your school, your conference, etc.

    Zero Week Football Games

    Friday, Aug. 22 (all games at 7 p.m.)
    Park Center at Richfield
    Chanhassen at South St. Paul
    Worthington at Redwood Valley
    Southland at Caledonia
    Fillmore Central at Chatfield
    Brooklyn Center at St. James
    St. Clair at Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity
    Bethlehem Academy at Mankato Loyola
    Rushford-Peterson at Kingsland
    Goodhue at Wabasha-Kellogg
    Glenville-Emmons at Lanesboro
    LeRoy-Ostrander at Houston
    Spring Grove at Lyle/Austin Pacelli
    Mabel-Canton at Randolph
    Chaska at Menomonie, Wis.
    Minnetonka at Hudson, Wis.
    Superior, Wis., at Hopkins

    Saturday, Aug. 23
    Providence Academy at Crookston, 2 p.m.

    *Schools/teams John has visited: 0
    *Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 0
    Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

    Flashback to 2012: From Nine-Man to 6A, The Football Season Is Underway
    Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 7/23/2014 8:34:15 PM

    As the first day of practices for fall sports -- Aug. 11 -- draws closer, here's another story from the John's Journal archives. This one comes from late August of 2012 and two Zero Week football games; a nine-man contest between Wheaton/Herman-Norcross and Underwood, and a big-school game between Hopkins and the team from Episcopal High School in Houston, Texas...

    I can summarize my Zero Week football experience in several ways…

    --The gastronomical tally was one bratwurst, one hot dog, one hamburger and three Diet Cokes.

    --Mileage? I drove 396 round-trip miles ...

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