The Minnesota State High School League said Thursday it will limit attendance at tournament games starting Friday to participants, media and “a small number of school-approved’’ fans of teams.
The fan limits, which a coach and a school official said was 90 per team, affect the girls’ basketball state tournament and boys’ basketball section games and, initially, the adapted floor hockey state tournament. Later in the day, though, the league said it was canceling the adapted floor hockey event, which had been set for Friday and Saturday at Bloomington Jefferson High School.
Owing to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 virus situation, plans for the boys’ basketball state tournament, which starts next Wednesday, are “still being developed and will be communicated at a later date,’’ the league said in a statement.
Starting Friday, basketball tournament attendance is “limited to rostered participants, coaches, event staff, TV network partners, credentialed media, and a small number of school-approved spectators of each participating team,’’ the statement said.
The league also said consolation and third-place games for girls’ basketball have been canceled. Basketball games are being played at Williams Arena and Maturi Pavilion at the University of Minnesota, and Concordia University, St. Paul.
“We recognize that a collective community response is critical to supporting the health of our communities and mitigating the spread of COVID-19,’’ league Executive Director Erich Martens said in the statement. “The MSHSL intends to do everything possible to allow participating students who have earned the opportunity to compete in these special tournaments to do so.’’
The league urged those at tournaments to follow personal hygiene recommendations and avoid contact with those dealing with respiratory complications or fever.
Schools will receive information from the league for determining their list of designated spectators. All designated spectators must present an ID and purchase a ticket to enter the venue, the league said.
The prospect of not playing consolation and third-place games left Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa coach Kristina Anderson disappointed. Her team lost in the Class 1A quarterfinals Thursday at Maturi Pavilion. Until the league announcement, the Jaguars had at least one and possibly two more games to play.
“We’ll always remember it as the year of the corona,” Anderson said. “I wish the games wouldn’t have been canceled, so we could have seen how we would have done. But, at the same time I understand it. It’s disappointing for the young ladies.”
Said Cromwell-Wright coach Jeff Gronner, referring to the fans limits: “I know there is going to be a lot of irritated people.”
His senior guard Taya Hakamaki, coming off a 34-point game, said she needed “15 to 20 tickets just for my family.”