Millea talks about 2015 prep football season

NEW ULM – John Millea, a former Minneapolis Star Tribune writer and who currently works for the Minnesota State High School League, said the most pressing issue with the MSHSL is the new football district format that will happen in 2015.

“Everybody is going to be grouped into a district and some conferences are going to disappear,” said Millea, who was the guest speaker at the New Ulm Club Athletic Banquet last Saturday.

“I think that people are afraid of what they do not know because we (MSHSL) do not know a lot about how these groups are going to look,” he said. “Everybody’s football schedule will be a lot different.”

Millea said some athletic directors proposed to hold off district play until 2016 at the MSHSL Board of Directors meeting last Thursday.

“That is not going to happen but football has been the big topic for years because so many football teams cannot fill their schedules,” Millea said. “This is way to insure that everybody gets eight regular season games even though for a lot of schools it will be a big change.”

This is a big concern, especially for Class A teams that are hugging the border between enrollments that could allow them to drop down to 9-man schedules.

“That is one of the unknowns on how that’s going to work,” Millea said. “I think that it will be bumpy out of the gate but once everyone gets used to it, it is like everything else. Change is change and it is not always smooth. I think that it will be fine but it may not be smooth right away.”

As far as a shot clock for high school basketball, Millea thinks that it will not happen right now.

“Boy’s and girl’s basketball both have their own coach’s association and if they both came forward and said that they wanted a shot clock that would carry a lot of weight,” Millea said. “The Metro schools probably would not have an issue but for the smaller schools – there is a cost to it. You have to buy the clocks, have them installed, have people trained to run them and then pay someone to run them. Do you use them for JV games and all of the lower levels? Personally I do not think that we are close but you never know.”

Millea said that one of the concerns that came up last yeat and again this year is the weather for the spring sports.

“The weather last year really killed spring sports,” he said. “And we will have to wait and see about this year. But we do not know what to do. Our state tournaments in the spring are already later than most warm-weather states. I do not know if we can go much later than we already are. Families want to have summer vacations and summers here are so short.”

Millea said that while he is OK with the current class set-up in basketball, interest may be raised if the sport was shrunk to three classes.

“We have seven classes in football and I think that is OK,” Millea said. “You do not want schools four times bigger playing each other because of the safety issue. [The] football issue is the one that has to get done right.”

As far as open enrollment goes, he feels that it is not as big of an issue as it has been in the past.

“Before we had kids being in four different high schools in their four years,” Millea said. “Now you have to physically move or meet other requirements. The temperature on that has dropped quite a bit. You hear the word ‘recruiting’ quite a bit and when I was at the Tribune I did a lot of stories and investigation on this and I never found a case where a coach actually recruited a kid. At great programs at whatever sport the coaches do not need to recruit. The kids play on the same AAU teams or Olympic teams and the kids and their families get to know each other and they move and change schools.”

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