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Minnesota State High School League sued over football, volleyball move to spring

A lawsuit filed on behalf of three high school athletes claims the MSHSL violated its own rules by changing its bylaws.
Credit: KARE

MINNEAPOLIS — Three Minnesota high school athletes and their parents are suing the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) for alleged violations of the league's bylaws, following the MSHSL Board's decision to move the football and volleyball seasons to a reduced schedule in spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suit is asking a judge for an injunction, claiming schools don't need to follow the schedule switch for the two sports since the league didn't follow its own rules.

According to court documents filed in Hennepin County District Court on Sept. 11, the plaintiffs are three unnamed multi-sport high school athletes.

In the court filing, the plaintiffs' attorney, Samuel Diehl, claims MSHSL board members did not have the authority to amend the league's bylaws at its Aug. 4 meeting, where the fall sports decisions were made. Diehl states such bylaw changes can only be made by the League's Representative Assembly, making the board's bylaw changes "illegal, null and void." As a result, Diehl argues that MSHSL member schools aren't bound by the Board's decisions on the football and volleyball seasons.

Diehl said all three of his clients take the appropriate precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, and that none of them want to force other students to play, or require parents to watch in large crowds if it's unsafe to do so. However, the court filing also says students were not asked about their concerns prior to the board's decision; Diehl says his clients would have said their experience would have supported keeping football and volleyball in the fall.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday.

The president of the MSHSL Board of Directors has called a special meeting of the board for Monday, Sept. 21, where they're widely expected to revisit the decision on football and volleyball.

RELATED: Minnesota State High School League calls special meeting on Sept. 21