SPORTS FEEVER – June 4, 2020

It has been a tough week in the state of Minnesota and across the nation after the death of George Floyd.  I might have shared the moment I experienced racism in person, but in case you missed it, here is the story –

It was the winter of 1995-96 and I was playing basketball at the University of Minnesota Crookston.  Half the men’s basketball team was black and the other were white.  I was close with everybody on the team and some of my better friends were African American.  One day we were walking from a dorm towards the sports center and passing another dorm.  As we were walking by, a window opened and somebody yelled down to us, “look at those Niggers”.  (sorry for the full word, but it was said)  Those of us that were white said let’s go kick his rear end!!!!  Our teammates and friends said no, that is what they want.  They want us to get in a fight and guess who will get in trouble?
It was a moment that is engrained in my head forever.   A while later we were playing at the Dakota Dome against the University of South Dakota Coyotes.  The student body was yelling “Look at all the monkeys” the entire game.  It was unbelievable that the student body would say something like that (I guess not really in South Dakota), but even more surprising that nobody from the coaching staff, or athletic department put a stop to it.
There are many more stories of racism towards my teammates and friends that year.  While I have had a pretty good life being white, I will never pretend to know the struggles African Americans go through and will continue to go through.

With that being said, if you are white…..just listen, try to help fight systemic racism, and most importantly let’s use this tragedy to make sure we don’t let something like this happen again.  And 99 percent of the cops are great people and care about the people and the community.  Don’t let the one percent make you think poorly of the 99 percent!!!

EVERYBODY is created equal and make sure you treat everybody equal!!!

Thanks for reading another Sports Feever column.
Thanks for reading and be safe!

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After about two months, Governor Tim Walz finally forgave his old hairdresser girlfriend from college that broke up with him (or whatever the reason) and let hairdressers get back to work.  My wife is finally done living off the government cheese!!!!  I was sick of being the breadwinner for two months because it was too much pressure on me;)… we are back to her being the breadwinner of the family and I am fine with it.

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The Minnesota State High School League board has elected its officers for the 2020-2021 school year
President: Blaine Novak of New York Mills
Vice President: Tom Jerome of Roseau
Treasurer: Troy Stein of Edina

Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis
League Office, Brooklyn Center and via digital platform
Monday, June 1, 2020


  • Board President Bonnie Spohn Schmaltz called the meeting to order and reminded Board Members that roll call votes are required for all action items due to the virtual meeting setting.
  • Board member John Vraa gave the reflection
  • The meeting agenda as presented was approved by roll call vote
  • The board meeting minutes from April 24, 2020 were approved by roll call vote

Lobbyist Report

  • League Lobbyist Roger Aronson reported the State Legislature adjourned on May 18, but is likely to reconvene on June 12
  • A tax bill that includes a provision for the League’s tax dollars on tournament tickets to be used for operations is on a list of bills that will be considered by the tax committee
  • Approximately $160 million in federal grants are very likely to be available to help state organizations and school districts, among others. The League’s lobbyist and League Staff will explore what eligibility the League might have to receive a grant.

Legal Counsel Report

  • Legal Counsel Kevin Beck reported there is one pending court case. A hearing date for a motion to dismiss is being sought.

Executive Director’s Report

  • Executive Director Erich Martens reported the League office is closed to the public to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. League Staff are now working in the office on a rotation basis and are working remotely when not in the office.
  • The League is one of 70 youth sports providers that are represented on a roundtable with State of Minnesota Commissioner Tarek Tomes to help create a model for the reopening of youth sports. Maintaining health, safety and long-term success are the foundations of the model.

Executive Committee Report

  • By roll call vote, the board of directors approved a committee recommendation to hold a board of directors meeting on July 14, 2020
  • By roll call vote, the board of directors approved a committee recommendation to schedule the next Representative Assembly on Nov. 17, 2020
  • The International School of Minnesota, based in Eden Prairie, is seeking to become a dormitory-based school. Executive Director Martens will provide information to the school’s leadership on criteria and process
  • The committee approved the closing of the associate director position that has been posted
  • The League received $790,000 through the Paycheck Protection Program. In following the requirements of the program, up to $580,000 will be a grant.
  • The League Office will begin traditional summer hours this week and is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed Friday. League Staff will work fulltime and are reachable via phone and email.
  • The board of directors approved the Executive Committee report by roll call vote

Closed Session

  • The board of directors approved by roll call vote to move into a closed session at 9:45 a.m., to discuss nonpublic educational data.
  • The board of directors re-opened the meeting at 10:10 a.m.

Action Items (Roll call votes were used on all Action Items because of virtual meeting protocol)

  • 9A: Summer Waiver Coaching Period

Approved a motion by the Eligibility Committee and declaration of the MSHSL to change the Summer Waiver Coaching Period start date to June 15

  • 9B: Representative Assembly Proposed Amendments:

Bylaw 110, Semesters Enrolled — The board of directors approved the advancement of proposed amended language in the bylaw to the Representative Assembly

Bylaw 110, Board Policy Update — The board of directors approved policy language that further explains the approved amendments including notice of students by schools and specific examples of situations.

Bylaw 403, Cooperative Sponsorship of an activity by two or more member schools — The board of directors approved the advancement of proposed amendments to the cooperative sponsorship bylaw provided through the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Bylaw 403.

  • 9C: Winter Advisory Recommendations


  • The board of directors approved the proposal by the wrestling advisory committee to increase the size of the team roster for section and state tournaments. The increase is to add two wrestlers so that each alternate would cover two weight classes.
  • The board of directors approved the proposal by the wrestling advisory committee to allow for a participant to compete in both junior varsity and varsity matches in the same dual, triangular or quad meets, and have the participation recorded as two individual matches, but only one event.
  • No motion was made in support of a proposal by the wrestling advisory committee to add an additional half day to the state tournament for the purpose of creating a full consolation round for the individual portion of the tournament and spread the team tournament over two days.

9F: 2019-2020 Membership registration fees

  • The board of directors approved a motion that member schools would not receive activity fee rebates or credits as a result of the cancellation of the Spring 2020 season

9G: 2019-2020 Officials registration fees

  • The board of directors approved a motion that registered spring officials would not receive fee rebates or credits due to the cancellation of spring sports and activities

Discussion Items

  • 10A: 2020-2021 Preliminary Budget

League Staff shared information on factors that will impact the creation of a 2020-2021 budget, which include but are not limited to, registration fees, tournament revenues, contracts and sponsorships, as well as projected expenses for programming, insurance and staffing. The League will continue to develop financial projections for presentation at the July 14 board of directors meeting

  • 10B: Consolation and Third Place

League Staff shared information related to consolation and third place rounds within many state tournaments. This information will be considered in future decisions regarding tournaments.

  • 10C: Competitive Section Placement Process Timeline

League Staff shared information on the classification and competitive section placement of member schools that is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2021. Prior to the process, the Region Assignments of member schools will be reviewed and adjusted.

Committee Reports

Audit/Finance Committee (conducted by virtual platform on May 28, 2020)

  • The financial statement for April was approved by the board of directors by a roll call vote
  • The League’s Annual Report is due June 15 to the IRS and Minnesota’s Attorney General
  • The board of directors approved in a roll call vote the increase in registration fees for first-year officials to $30 to more closely address the actual cost of officiating materials.
  • The committee discussed the potential for Administrative Regions to carry more than the current 20 percent of operational expenses in the fund balance

Marketing and Communications Committee (conducted by virtual platform on May 27, 2020)

  • League Staff provided an update on the technology build that is scheduled for a Phase 1 release in mid-July
  • The board of directors approved by roll call vote a motion to renew the existing sponsorship with Wells Fargo
  • The board of directors approved by roll call vote a motion to partner with the Minnesota Vikings for promotions of the Prep Bowl
  • The board of directors approved by roll call vote a motion to partner with Hometown Ticketing, a digital ticketing company

Next board meeting: July 14, 2020, time TBA

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The Minnesota State High School League is asking school districts to pay $50 more per sport they offer for next school year.  The fee per sport used to be $90 per month and a couple of years ago it increased to $110 per sport. For the school year 2020-2021, the Minnesota State High School League wants $160 per sport and one dollar for each student.
The state high school league is running at a large deficit this year and they are trying to get more money from the districts.

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An upgrade to the Crookston High School weight room was unanimously approved by the Crookston School board last week.  The work on an upgraded weight room started about a year ago and Activities Director Greg Garmen has received quotes with BSN Sports/Tom Piche doing the initial work.  Most schools in the area use BSN Sports and schools like Bagley, Ada-Borup/West, and others have been happy with their upgrades through Piche.
The upgrade will mean new equipment.  “There will be new equipment, new flooring and we want to make it a little brighter with new lights,” said Superintendent Jeremy Olson. “We are trying to make it the best place we can with the space we have.”
Renderings of the weight room are below –

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School Districts across the state have been wondering if and what they should pay the spring sports coaches.
The Crookston School District is saving $44,700 in supplies and transportation by not having spring sports.  With that said, the board approved to pay the spring sports coaches 50% of their coaching salary.   I think it is fair and important to pay the coaches a portion of their salary as they put so much time in during the offseason and extra time during the season.

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The Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Girls Basketball program will be looking for a new coach after Tom Critchley Jr. took a job to be the head Boys Basketball Coach at Big Lake School District.

Critchley has been a head coach for over 24 years has recorded over 400 wins in his career.  Before DGF, he was the head Boys Basketball coach at Marshall, and Ulen-Hitterdal.  He has been elected president of the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association.

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Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Boys Basketball player Jacob Strand (5’11 guard) has signed to play basketball at Mayville State next year.

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Former UMC Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Aneese, who was at the University of Mary for two years has announced he is leaving Bismarck, North Dakota and the coaching profession to become a consultant for a health and wellness company in Colorado.

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Steve Bruce shared the information below.  It shows the number of points scored by sisters.  The Hill and Borowicz sisters are at the top of the list and both groups will be adding to their total next year.

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Just an FYI – Kansas City Kings selected Bruce Jenner in the 1977 NBA draft.  I didn’t know this, so I figured I would share it with you.

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How are former Crookston Pirates athletes doing in college or elsewhere?

Paul Bittner is playing for the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Bluejacket.

Brady Heppner, is playing hockey for the Roanoke Raildogs in the SPHL.

Aleece Durbin, is a Sophomore on the University of North Dakota Women’s Track and Field team.

Brita Fagerlund, is a Junior on the University of Jamestown Jimmy Women’s Track team.

Ben Trostad is a sophomore member of the University of Minnesota Crookston golf team.

Isaac Westlake, is a Senior on the Winona State Warrior Men’s Golf team.

Elise Tangquist, is a Junior golfer for the University of Northwestern in St. Paul.

Mason LaPlante, a freshman, is playing soccer at the University of Jamestown.

Rachel Hefta, a freshman, is playing volleyball at Hastings College in Nebraska.

Cade Salentine is a redshirt Freshman playing football at the University of North Dakota

Nick Garmen, is a freshman playing basketball and tennis at the University of Minnesota Morris.

Thea Oman, a freshman, is swimming at St. Ben’s.

Crookston School District Coaches –
Jeremy Lubinski
 is a Pirate 8th Grade Football coach.
Amy Boll 
is the head Pirate Girls Track head coach and assistant volleyball coach
Sarah Reese 
is the Pirate Head Girls Soccer coach
Cody Brekken
 is the Head Pirate Girls and Boys Tennis coach and Crookston Community Pool Supervisor
Marley Melbye is the Head Girls Swimming coach
Mitch Bakken is the head Pirate Baseball coach.
Brock Hanson
 is the Pirate Baseball volunteer assistant coach.
Jeff Perreault 
is the Pirate Girls Golf head coach
Wes Hanson is the Pirate Wrestling Head Coach and assistant boys golf coach
Kevin Weber is a Pirate Boys Basketball volunteer assistant coach
Connor Morgan is the Pirate Boys Hockey assistant coach
Sam Melbye is the Pirate Boys J.V. Hockey coach
Chris Dufault is a youth wrestling Coach
Blake Fee is an assistant wrestling coach
Colton Weiland is an assistant wrestling coach

Non-Crookston High School coaching –

Cody Weiland is an assistant wrestling coach at Proctor/Hermantown

Kaylee Desrosier is a softball coach for Fargo Davies Middle School.

Justin Johnson is an assistant softball coach at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Josh Edlund  is an assistant football coach and phy ed teacher at Flandreau, South Dakota.

Allison Lindsey Axness is Assistant Varsity Volleyball Coach in Champlin Park

Jeff Olson is Head Wrestling coach and Head Baseball coach at Delano.

Jake Olson is an Assistant Football Coach and Head Boys Tennis coach at Delano.

Carmen (Kreibich) Johnson, is Head Volleyball coach at Little Falls High School.

Katy Westrom, is Head Girls Tennis Coach and Head Boys Tennis coach at Monticello High School.

Matt Harris, is a Director of Athletics at the British International School of Houston.

Marty Bratrud is the Superintendent and High School Principal at Westhope High School.

Gordie Haug is an assistant football coach at the University of Wyoming

Mike Hastings is the Minnesota State Mankato Men’s head Hockey coach

Mike Biermaier is the Athletic Director at Thief River Falls High School

Stephanie (Lindsay) Perreault works with the North Dakota State stats crew for Bison football and volleyball and basketball in the winter. Stephanie’s husband, Ryan, is the assistant director for the Bison media relations

Jason Bushie is the hockey athletic trainer at Colorado College

Chris Myrold is a Tennis Pro on Nevis Island in the West Indies

Kyle Buchmeier
 is a Tennis Pro at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis

Jarrett Butenhoff is serving our country with the U.S. Navy

Joshua Butenhoff is serving our country on a Submarine with the Pacific Fleet with the US Navy.

Peter Cournia is a 2002 Crookston High School Graduate and also a grad of West Point and is currently is serving in the U.S. Army.

Erik Ellingson is serving our country with the U.S. Air Force at Minot.

Philip Kujawa class of 2004 from Crookston High School.  He is an Army recruiter in Rochester.

Scott Riopelle is head of Crookston Parks and Recreation

Rob Sobolik is the General Manager of the Fargodome

That’s it for this week.  Thanks for the comments and if you have anything to add or share, please e-mail or call.  Thanks for reading and listening to KROX RADIO and