Winter sports will be delayed for their start date this year.
The Montana High School Association, at their executive board meeting on October 13, approved the delaying of the start of winter sport practices until December 7.
Originally, the start date for practices was November 19, but the start date has been pushed back by a few weeks. The board said the delay will allow schools and communities to assist in flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases, and the delay will allow schools and their teams get through the holidays before contests actually begin.
Decisions concerning postseason play of fall sports were also discussed, and fan attendance was given clear guidelines.
The state cross country meet will still be held in Kalispell; however, the meet will be held over two days instead of one. Classes A and B will compete on the first day, and Classes AA and C will compete on the second day (October 23 and 24). Each participant will be allowed two tickets for the state meet.
District and divisional volleyball tournament sites are required to get local county health department approval to host, and they must submit the approval to the MHSA office. The tournaments have to follow all guidelines previously approved by the board.
Host sites for Classes A, B and C state tournaments are still being worked out by the MHSA.
For football and volleyball postseason action, a ticket system will be used for spectator attendance.
Each site must provide a minimum of two tickets per suited player for both the visiting and home fans, which was approved in previous board action.
On top of that, the board approved in its most recent meeting to allow up to a maximum of six spectator passes per uniformed player for both home and visiting teams, four spectator tickets for alternates and managers, two spectator tickets for coaches and two spectator tickets for cheerleaders (up to a maximum of 12 cheerleaders), with the approval of local county health departments.
These spectator pass guidelines are for football, volleyball and soccer.
No more than the maximum can be distributed, and tickets must be distributed equally between home and visiting teams/fans.
Due to increasing COVID-19 numbers, student sections will not be allowed during postseason play, and bands will not be allowed during postseason play. Students can still attend events if they are given a spectator pass.
In other actions, Fairview High School was approved to be allowed to stay in Class C, after their enrollment count was reviewed. The board said their enrollment was below the 10 percent limit for Class C enrollment.
The next reclassification cycle begins in 2021–22.
The board also approved allowing speech, debate and drama participants to begin practice on Monday, October 19. In addition to that, the board directed that after December 1, meets can be held, but they must be held virtually.
The possibility of holding in-person meets this season will continue to be evaluated.