MSHSL changes spectator rules for indoor events after facing lawsuit

"This is a perfect example of individuals knowing how to run their lives better than any bureaucracy."

MSHSL/Facebook

The Minnesota State High School League has updated its guidelines regarding spectators at indoor events.

In a civil lawsuit filed Oct. 5, the parents of four Minnesota high school athletes sued MSHSL over spectator restrictions regarding fall sports. As of Thursday, MSHSL has now changed one of the rules addressed by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

According to MSHSL’s Facebook post on the updated guidance, the new “Capacity Requirements” for indoor events allow “up to a total allocation of two spectators per participant.” Spectator groups/households must be six feet apart from other spectator groups. The total capacity indoors must not be over 25%, including activity participants if they cannot be separated from spectators by at least 12 feet.

Previously, MSHSL allowed no spectators for indoor events.

MSHSL is requiring schools to leave ample time for events in order to limit the amount of time spent gathering in groups while not watching the sport or activity. The guidelines say, “[Schools] must establish staggered admission-times, entry-times and durations to minimize overlap and congregating of spectators at choke-points (e.g. access points, security check-points, admission areas, concession areas).”

The updated guidelines also say that, “depending on the size of the venue,” some indoor events may allow only one spectator per participant. Schools must require pre-registration and must take contact information “so that quick notification can be done if an individual develops COVID-19.”

Rep. Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal, gave his response to the new spectator rules.

“Frankly, the fact that the MSHSL ever deprived parents of the right to support their children is wrong. Nevertheless, I am glad this problem was corrected,” Munson said.

He also expressed pride for those who pushed back against the limiting rules. “Sporting events are about supporting each other and sharing community. In times such as these, we should not be depriving families of the ability to cheer each other on. As such, I am so proud of the parents who stood up to the MSHSL and won,” Munson said.

Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, said the credit for the change “belongs to the families who stood up and advocated for their communities.”

“I previously sent a letter to the MSHSL and the Department of Education asking them to allow parents to attend sports events. Both organizations wield immense authority on these issues,” he said. “However, this is a perfect example of individuals knowing how to run their lives better than any bureaucracy.”