Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz hints at looming prep sports pause

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The Lumberjacks bring down Alexandria’s Kristen Hoskins (13) in a Nov. 6 game at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Walz didn't officially make an announcement Tuesday to halt any youth sports in Minnesota due to the ongoing pandemic, but he made it clear those actions were coming Wednesday.

The announcement is expected to impact both the upcoming winter prep sports seasons and the not-yet-completed fall seasons.

"It'll impact across the board," Walz said.

On Tuesday night, many Minnesota high school football teams started postseason play, though according to a Star Tribune report , at least 74 teams were unable to play because of COVID-19 issues.

According to Minnesota's coronavirus dashboard, hospitalizations and ICU bed use were at record highs Tuesday.


"The point we're at in this pandemic, if we don't get a handle on this, it's not going to be a choice whether we keep it open," Walz said. "There'll be no coaches to coach, and there'll be more kids in the hospital. It's inevitable with this growth."

During a Tuesday press conference, Walz was pressed about whether prep sports was truly responsible for community spread of the coronavirus.

"Every single industry says it's not us," Walz said. "The fact of the matter is as a nation we have failed to curtail this. If we want to get back to normal ... the trajectory of this is simply unsustainable. I'm emphatically understanding where these folks are coming from but the idea that we can go on with the way things have been with the data we have simply isn't sustained by the facts."

Last Friday, North Dakota winter prep sports will placed on pause until Dec. 14, Gov. Doug Burgum announced in one of several sweeping changes in the face of the state's COVID-19 outbreak, which is the worst in the country. The shutdown includes all extracurricular K-12 school activities and applies to all association, community and club sports for youth and adults.

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