The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Board of Directors met virtually on Tuesday afternoon Aug. 4 and granted relief of two by-laws and a board policy. In doing so, the board opened the door to fall sports and activities participation by students whose school districts have chosen an all-virtual or part-virtual start to the 2020-21 school year. The release date for Fall Classification and District Assignments also has been modified.
Additionally, the board’s actions allow virtual competitions in activities with the technological capabilities to do so.
These changes apply to the 2020-21 school year only.
According to MSHSAA, schools will be allowed to participate in activities provided they are following all health department requirements and phases, if applicable. However, the board also determined that fall sports/activities participation should be a local school decision.
Member schools may now determine if their teams will participate in MSHSAA activities while their students are receiving virtual instruction only and while following all requirements and guidelines set forth by their health department officials.
“Students must meet all requirements of the local school, with the local school having the ability to always be more restrictive,” MSHSAA asserted in a press release on Aug. 5. “It is a local school decision on what criteria it puts in place in order to earn the privilege to represent the school in interscholastic competition.”
In addition to providing relief for the regular fall sports season, MSHSAA’s board also granted relief from a portion of its terms and conditions to allow for a two-team, pre-season jamboree.
Postseason eligibility also was granted relief.
By-Law 5.1.2 states: “To be eligible to enter a team or individual in any preliminary or state event, a school must have competed in at least half of the number of contests permitted under the by-law pertaining to that particular sport.”
Given the sudden changes that may occur during the season, the board voted to allow teams that complete less than half of their scheduled contests to remain eligible for the postseason in their sport or activity.
Classification and district assignments for the fall seasons will now be released on Friday, Sept. 18 rather than Aug. 21. Member schools will now have until Sept. 11 to notify MSHSAA if they have a sport that will not be able to participate in the postseason. Those teams that will not be participating in the postseason will be removed from the classification process for that specific sport.
Mid Rivers Newsmagazine will continue to track and report the decisions made at the local school level.