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MSHSL gets it wrong on wrestling, right on mercy rules

April 5, 2008
Andy Rennecke
The Minnesota State High School League has come under fire for its decision-making this week.

In wrestling, two proposals to reduce the number of weight classes from 14 both were shot down.

One proposal was for 12 and the other for 13. To most wrestling coaches I talked with this past winter, they seemed to agree that knocking down a class or two wouldn’t hurt.

But instead of listening, the MSHSL voted to keep it at 14. That’s not good for outstate schools with dwindling enrollment and smaller teams.

There’s no reason to take out a class like 135 or 119. And holding kids down to 103 pounds just to wrestle doesn’t seem right. I don’t care if they’re seventh-graders or not, that class should be done away with. The minimum weight should start at 115 pounds at the very least. Anorexia isn’t cool.

The state wrestling coaches association has made it clear it wants fewer weights. That’s also obvious on the message boards of, which puts the state high school rankings out during the season.

But according to an article in the Star Tribune earlier this week, no one from the wrestling coaches association was at the meeting. That didn’t help their cause. If you want something done, show up.

Still, Bill Schmidt, the executive secretary of the coaches association, told the Tribune that his group was told to come to the meeting but wouldn’t be allowed to speak. Schmidt said his group would’ve been at the meeting had they been allowed to give some input on the subject.

Dave Stead, the MSHSL executive director, said Schmidt’s statement “was entirely inaccurate. That’s as far from the truth as it could be.”

So, who’s telling the truth? Sounds like two guys who don’t like each other to me and who aren’t willing to compromise or communicate.

The MSHSL was in the wrong for not making a change to at least 13 classes. Minnesota would’ve been the first state in the United States to make the change. Fourteen classes is a universal number across the country. Outstate populations, especially in the southwest corner of the state, are going down. It’s time to recognize that fact.

The two decisions that were solid in my book were the mercy rules in basketball and football.

In basketball, if the point spread is 35 or more in the final nine minutes, running time will be used.

In football, the same 35-point spread will be used to start running time in the fourth quarter. If the point spread goes below 30, regular time will still be used.

In 9-Man South Dakota high school football, once a team goes up by 45 points or more, the game just ends. That’s not the right way to do it.

The right way is running time. It makes things end quicker and on a good note. You’ve all been to a blowout game where it seems like it will never end. Nobody wants that. Running time makes everything go over much more smoothly and the game still plays out like it should.

Plus, as a player, you want the game to end as soon as it can if you’re getting killed. I was a part of more than a few basketball games where we got blown out by 50 or more points. Nobody wanted to get out of there faster than the players.

In other decisions, the volleyball state tournament will begin using seeding next year. All three classes will seed the top four teams with quarterfinal foes decided by a blind draw.

Ticket prices will also go up at state tournaments. The main reason for this was the rising cost for the MSHSL to rent out venues such as the Xcel Energy Center and Target Center.

There’s nothing like the rich getting richer.



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