Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Representative Assembly approves girls wrestling division; votes against sanctioning boys volleyball

For immediate release:

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — A Girls Wrestling Division during the postseason was approved today when the 48-member Representative Assembly legislative body of the Minnesota State High School League met for its annual meeting. In other action, the Representative Assembly fell two votes short of approving the addition of Boys Volleyball as a League-sanctioned activity.

Proposed bylaw amendments require a two-thirds majority vote for passage. Both amendment proposals were approved by 9 of the 16 administrative regions prior to reaching the Representative Assembly for consideration.

“Today’s meeting demonstrated the significant desire for youth sports programs to be adopted by the Minnesota State High School League and for students to have the opportunity to represent their school as they compete,” said Erich Martens, the League’s Executive Director. “The decision by our membership to offer our girls in wrestling the chance to compete for individual honors in their own postseason division is a big step. Minnesota now joins other regional states like North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Missouri in offering this opportunity for girls wrestlers.”

The addition of a Girls Wrestling Division in the postseason will be enacted during the 2021-2022 school year. The amendment proposal was approved by a 44-4 vote.

Under the approved amendment, girls will train and compete with the boys’ teams during the regular season, but will have the option of competing in a girls-only individual section and state tournament that would occur simultaneously with the boys postseason individual tournaments. As part of the approved amendment, girls would be eligible to remain a part of the boys’ team for postseason dual tournaments.

During the 2019-2020 season, 153 girls in Minnesota participated in high school wrestling. More than 21,000 female wrestlers are competing nationally.

League Staff will work with the Board of Directors and the leadership of the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association in developing models of implementation for the girls postseason. Twelve weight classes are suggested as part of the approved amendment: 95, 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 160, 170, 182 and 220.

A proposed amendment to add Boys Volleyball fell two votes shy of passage. Twenty-nine members of the Representative Assembly voted in favor of the proposed amendment and 18 against with one abstention. With the abstention, the requirement threshold was 31 affirmative votes. The proposed amendment had the required support of 9 of the 16 administrative regions more than a year ago, but requested it be tabled for consideration prior to the Representative Assembly’s meeting in May of 2020.

“A vote today on Boys Volleyball was notable,” said New York Mills Superintendent Blaine Novak, the League’s Board of Directors President who presided over the Representative Assembly meeting. “It demonstrates avid support to add the sport to provide additional opportunities for our student-athletes, while at the same time, recognizing that additional work needs to be done to grow the activity in member schools.”

Opportunities to participate in Boys Volleyball still remain.

The sport is in its third organized season as a recreational, or club, activity offered by some member schools. In the 2018-2019 school year, more than 50 Minnesota member schools played club volleyball. There are 24 state associations that sanction Boys Volleyball. Like all other youth sports in Minnesota, Boys Volleyball was not played in the spring of 2020 because of the global pandemic.

The next Representative Assembly meeting will be in May of 2022.