Updated: 01/23/2014 6:17 PM
Created: 01/23/2014 12:24 PM KSTP.com
By: Nick Tabbert
Significant changes are coming to high school football in Minnesota starting in 2015.
The Minnesota State High School League has passed a new game scheduling policy that will change how schools are grouped together in conferences and the range of teams they will be able to schedule in a season.
At Thursday's MSHSL board of directors meeting in Brooklyn Center, about 10 coaches stood up to speak passionately about changing the high school game scheduling policy from conference play to district.
The new district format would be about playing teams that are similar to their own, creating a bracket within a geographical region and playing against schools with like-programs and comparable enrollment.
Districts would be made up of 12-18 schools and it would be up to those schools within the district to decide the eight-game football schedule.
One high school football coach from Motley said he can't defend his team's current schedule. His team travels from Motley-Staples up to Warroad, and he says they pass through 31 communities he'd gladly pull over and play, but can't because they are not a part of his conference, so he can't.
Coaches were overwhelmingly in favor of what they called "evening the playing field."
Other school sports like swimming, volleyball and basketball will not be impacted and will still play within their conference.
The state tournament would also not be impacted by this change, but with the demolition of the Metrodome underway, the 2015 Prep Bowl will be held two weeks earlier than usual at TCF Bank Stadium. The Golden Gophers' 2015 schedule conflicts with the traditional Prep Bowl dates.
The Prep Bowl will be held at TCF the next two seasons.
The 2015 season will start on Aug. 10 and teams will practice for two full weeks before being able to schedule their first game on Saturday, Aug. 22. The current bylaw requires one full week of conditioning and two weeks of practice.