KIMT NEWS 3 SPORTS – Under Emergency Executive Order 20-99 from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, adult and youth sports will be placed on pause at 11:59 p.m. on November 20. This means that all indoor and outdoor sports “including practices, group workouts, games, and tournaments” will be on hold through December 18. Professional and collegiate sports are exempt, though no spectators will be allowed.
As a former football coach, Gov. Walz acknowledged the “positive health impacts and unique developmental and social benefits of sports. But the 192 outbreaks connected to sports are too concerning to let these activities continue during this dial back.”
Teams across the state were once again devastated when they learned the news.
“As an athletic director, teacher and coach, this is my 27th year and it’s without a doubt the most challenging year I’ve had,” Lonnie Morken told KIMT News 3.
This marks the second time this year coaches and administrators had to deliver such news to their teams. After Friday, their seasons are over.
“I understand it’s not easy and it’s not fair, but it’s a sacrifice that we need to make,” Walz said.
While Morken is understanding of the situation, he says it doesn’t make digesting Wednesday’s announcement any easier.
“We had a team meal at the Legion in town here and our team was there and we watched the announcement by the governor. I ended up leaving, most of our team is still up there and they’re just kind of consoling each other and they’re crying and everything,” he said.
According to a press release from the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), section football play must be completed by the end of Friday. Most games were scheduled for Saturday forcing teams to shuffle section championships one day earlier.
The volleyball regular season must also wrap up by Friday night. The chance to play one or two more games means the world to Morken and teams across the state.
“It’s certainly not the way we wanted the season to end but like I told the girls after practice tonight – I’m proud to be their coach, I’m so happy that I got to experience what I did. Now we’ve played 12 games and it could have been zero, it could have been nothing.”
Morken also expressed his concern for the mental health of students saying they all need positive influences in their life to help them through this difficult time. Once the season concludes, he plans to find ways to keep his athletes active and connected.
“I’m sure we’ll stay in touch with the volleyball girls on some chats and stuff and see if we can get out and go sledding maybe, or go build snowmen, ice skate or do something, but it will be a much more challenging time to keep people active than it was in the spring,” he said. “Kind of a bummer, but we’ll get through it.”
Morken anticipates more guidance from the MSHSL in the days ahead on how this will impact the winter sports season.