MSHSAA: Schools with virtual instruction may participate; restrictions lifted on postseason

The Rolla Daily News

Missouri high schools that do not meet in person will still be allowed to participate in activities during the 2020-21 school year, according to a MSHSAA board ruling Tuesday night.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association Board of Directors voted Tuesday to grant relief of by-laws and the organization’s constitution for the 2020-21 school year, waiving the requirement of member schools to provide instruction in buildings to be eligible to participate in sports and activities. MSHSAA announced the changes Wednesday morning.

The MSHSAA board also ruled to allow for virtual competitions in activities with the appropriate technological capabilities and postpone the release date for fall classifications and district assignments.

According to the press release, the board, after a discussion, decided to grant relief from the MSHSAA Constitution to allow schools to participate despite not meeting in person as long as they followed all health department requirements and phases as set by their local governments. The board decided it would allow members to decide themselves if their teams will participate or not.

“It is a local school decision on what criteria it puts in place in order to earn the privilege to represent the school in interscholastic competition,” MSHSAA’s press release stated. “MSHSAA Member Schools may always be more restrictive than the minimum requirements of the MSHSAA By-Laws put in place by the member schools; however, they cannot be less restrictive.”

The board also granted relief of two by-laws. One said that teams or individual athletes will not have to compete in at least half of the number of contests permitted to be eligible for the postseason in their sport or activity.

“Given the sudden changes that may occur during the season, the Board voted to grant relief of this section,” the statement read.

The other allowed relief on preseason jamborees, allowing schools to have an option of a two-team jamboree.

The MSHSAA board also voted to postpone the release of classifications and district assignments in each sport until Sept. 18. Aug. 21 had been the original date those would be released. Member schools now have until Sept. 11 to notify MSHSAA if they have a sport that will not be able to participate in the postseason playoffs.