SPORTS FEEVER – September 10, 2020


Welcome to another Sports Feever column.  We have a lot of Minnesota State High School League information in this weeks column.  I hope you have had a great first few days of school and most importantly are staying healthy!

The Crookston High School Athletic Department
will hold Volleyball and Football practices for players grades 7-12.

The Minnesota State High School League will allow volleyball and football to hold 12 practice sessions from  September 14 to  October 3.

Volleyball Coach Ashley Stopa and her staff will direct the volleyball practice sessions.

Football Coach Scott Butt and his staff will direct the football practice sessions.

Athletes will need to register by September 10th as they normally would for a sport (

The fee will be 20% of the total fee for their sport. (9-12th grade is $25, 7th and 8th grade is $20) If we have football and volleyball in the projected spring season athletes would then pay the remaining 80% of the fee.

Athletes that do not participate in the volleyball or football fall practice sessions will be able to play in the projected spring season.


September 10 – 5:30 PM (Organizational meeting/Equipment handout)
September 14 – 6:00 PM
September 15 – 3:45 PM
September 16 – 3:45 PM
September 17 – 3:45 PM

September 21 – 6:00 PM
September 22 – 3:45 PM
September 23 – 3:45 PM
September 24 – 3:45 PM
September 25 – 3:45 PM

September 28 – 6:00 PM
September 29 – 3:45 PM
October 1 – 3:45 PM



Monday, September 14 –
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:00 PM
7-8 grade – 6:15 to 7:30 AM

Wednesday, September 16-
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:30 PM
7-8 grade – 6:15 to 7:30 AM

Friday, September 18-
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:00 PM
7-8 grade – 6:15 to 7:30 AM

Saturday, September 19 –
9-12 grade – 10:00 a.m. to Noon

Monday, September 21 –
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:00 PM
7-8 grade – 6:15 to 7:30 AM

Wednesday, September 23-
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:30 PM
7-8 grade – 6:15 to 7:30 AM

Friday, September 25-
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:00 PM
7-8 grade – 6:15 to 7:30 AM

Monday, September 28 –
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:00 PM
7-8 grade – 6:15 to 7:30 AM

Wednesday, September 30-
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:30 PM
7-8 grade – 6:15 to 7:30 AM

Thursday, October 1 –
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:30 PM

Friday, October 2-
9-12 grade – 6:30 to 8:00 PM
7-8 grade – 6:15 to 7:30 AM

Saturday, October 3
9-12 grade – 10:00 AM to Noon

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The Minnesota State High School League has upset a lot of school district administration after requesting COVID payments in excess of 300 percent of what schools already pay.
I decided to ask the father of the Sports Feever column, Frank Fee for his thoughts.  Frank is a former MSHSL Region 8A board member, he is the current Crookston School Board chairman and has been known as the dean of high school sports for northwest Minnesota. Franks thoughts are below –

My first reaction to the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) raising ‘sports fees’ to member school districts up to 300% because of COVID?
Crookston #593 just last month paid the ‘annual’ fees to the MSHSL at a 51% increase and now they are tacking on another 300 percent?? My figures might be a little off but two years ago Crookston paid $2,700, last month sent them a check for $4,087.00. Then at their meeting on Wednesday, they sent Crookston a two-prong bill called the Co-Vid installment, $3,500.00 now, and another 3,500.00 down the road. In other words, the Crookston School District will be asked to fork over $11,087.00 for 2020-2021. Unless they decide to send another bill later on etc….
What do you do as a school district? Not pay it? Then your teams/extracurriculars can’t participate. That wouldn’t be fair, using the student-athletes as pawns, which some could say the MSHSL is doing. I don’t see any other way than suck it up and pay it. In Crookston, I suspect it’ll come from the general fund as it would be hard for the athletic budget to come up with that amount!

This leads me to some other things with this. You’d think that sometime in 2021, we HOPEFULLY will have a vaccine for COVID 19. You’d think that the COVID Installment would end. Not necessarily so is what I’ve heard. They have lost a lot of money and instead of making cuts (back in the day), they raised rates!! Is this what the MSHSL has in mind? They had a $9 million budget a year or so ago and have dropped that to $5 million this year. If they lose more money, do they keep going back to the schools to make them whole?
Where is the Minnesota Legislature during all this? They do not give any money to the MSHSL, but I see where a couple of Republicans, including the head Republican, Paul Gazelka signed a letter urging the Big 10 to play football this fall!! Well, right here in Minnesota from Hallock to Ely to Winona to Pipestone and all the schools in between, we have a problem here and there should be someone on either side of the aisle that could look at it!! In some ways I guess the MSHSL is acting like the legislature. In the end, it all comes back to the taxpayers!
At Crookston and other schools, how do you try to make up the 311% increase? Do you raise your participation fees, raise your ticket prices (if you ever have an event)? I’m on the Crookston School Board and I’m speaking just for myself, but I wouldn’t be in favor of either. In fact, if we get to play fall sports (football and volleyball) at some time this school year and we do have some type of winter sports season, I think I could be talked into not charging anyone, where home or away fans. EVERYONE gets in free, just for this 2020-2021 school year. That’s JUST ME.
I’m just throwing out random stuff now, but what if there ISN’T hockey, basketball, or wrestling this winter? Should the MSHSL still be sending the COVID Installment when there are no activities?
Because if there aren’t any winter sports, then I could see the MSHSL dropping down to two people running the place!
Besides cutting about four positions and some other cost-saving moves, the MSHSL also said they are going to do all their meetings by ZOOM. Really?
Their new website. OMG. I tried finding Region 8A and Region 6A secretaries etc, No way Jose!!!
Anyway, I realize the Pandemic has been hard on everyone and the Board of Directors including some pretty good people who came up with this idea, so let’s see what happens.
I’m hoping that the first month or two of school throughout the state goes well without any significant outbreaks and we can get hockey and basketball going. A lot of Minnesota kids have been playing hockey this summer and I hope that can continue. For the wrestling faithful, I’m not quite sure how that would work.
Anyway, that’s my two cents worth.

Thanks Frank!  Here is something that has bothered me with the MSHSL.  They have had a deficit since a major sponsor stepped down as a sponsor.  There was never a noticeable effort to try to get a replacement.  I have a HARD time believing a Target, Best Buy, 3M, Busch Beer (I kid on the last one) etc wouldn’t want to be a Corporate Sponsor with the MSHSL (an organization that represents pretty much every school and town in the state).  Maybe they tried and I am wrong (wouldn’t be the first time).

The other problem they have – the executive director comes from the education sector.
I am wrapping up my first term of serving on the Minnesota Broadcasters Association and about to be board chair.  We hired a ROCK STAR Executive Director and our financials have drastically approved, and the MBA is stronger than it has been in many years and we continue to find new revenue streams outside of membership dues.  The MSHSL should think about doing the same thing.  Hiring somebody from outside the education sector/or somebody from within the education sector that has turned districts around.

I am sure they are trying to do something, but finding NEW revenue sources have to be a TOP priority. Now would be the time to reach out to Target after they continue to have a great year.

— — —

I have talked to a couple of boys Minnesota High School basketball coaches in the “know” over the past two weeks and have received some information on what the return to play committee is working on as far as the season could look like this winter.

The most likely option the committee will propose to the MSHSL executive committee is an 18 game schedule that would start practice in mid-December and the first game would be December 28.  The season would be 14 weeks.
The other option is starting practice December 28 and games starting the second week of January.
Again, these are just possibilities.  We have heard the MSHSL wants to have the decision made in October.  We will see what happens.

I have also heard hockey is talking about several things.  If the MSHSL has a season, it would be similar to the basketball proposal – 18 games and a 14 week season.
Another option hockey coaches are talking about – IF the MSHSL decides they won’t have a winter sports season, Minnesota Hockey said they will sanction high school hockey.
This is great, but not as easy as many think.   If the MSHSL says no to hockey and Minnesota hockey runs with it.  I DON’T see the state allowing it.  The state told the MSHSL they would shutdown football and volleyball this fall after it sounded like they were going to have it.  I see the state doing the same thing.

If the MSHSL has a season, I can GUARANTEE it will be shorter and all sports will see a 30 percent schedule reduction. At this point, an 18 game season is great and every student-athlete would take it in a heartbeat.

Wrestling still looks highly unlikely to happen this winter.  Everybody we talked to in the wrestling world gives an 85 to 99 percent chance of not having a season this winter.  Barring a vaccine…..I hate to say they are probably right!

— — —

For parents/kids looking at going to North Dakota to play –

  1. If you transfer to play this year, you can’t come back this year to play in Minnesota this year.  And you will have to sit out next year too, unless the parents move to the community they are playing in both times.  Example – John Doe transfers to Grand Forks Central to play basketball, we would have to move to Grand Forks.  Then spring comes and Minnesota has football, John Doe’s family would have to move back to Crookston.  You might be thinking, what idiot would do that……I have heard people throw the idea out.
  2. North Dakota is the fastest growing COVID-19 case rate in the United States.  There is no guarantee of a season across the border, so making a move like that would be even dumber than normal.

— — —

East Grand Forks native and former Bemidji State girls hockey player, Haley Mack signed to play hockey with the Minnesota White Caps.

— — —

UMC Softball received a verbal commitment from Nicole Deden, a player from Mission Viejo, California.

— — —

It sounds increasingly clear that the college hockey season will be delayed to mid to late November at the earliest.  College campuses across the country have COVID-19 spreading like wildfire.  The NCAA has trademarked the phrase “Battle in the Bubble,” hoping to have bubbles of basketball teams playing games in different locations with the goal to make sure teams can play enough games to have March Madness.  The NCAA wants Men’s Basketball, because March Madness brings the NCAA 80 percent of their OVERALL revenue.  So if you want to continue to see college hockey, baseball, softball, football, volleyball, etc. you better hope and pray basketball is played this year.

If not, kiss the NCAA (as we know it) goodbye.

— — —

The University of Jamestown announced they postponed their first five volleyball matches of the year because of COVID-19, and now the football team has announced the football team is postponing their first football game because of a COVID-19 breakout on campus and its effect.
The Jimmies were supposed to play Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa on Saturday, September 12.
The NAIA has decided to move all the fall sports championships to the spring, so that means the NAIA national championship game is scheduled for May 10.

— — —


John, a well-to-do bachelor, invited his mother over for dinner one night. During the meal, Mom couldn’t help notice how attractive and shapely the housekeeper was, and wondered if there was more going on than meets the eye. John sensing what his mother was thinking said to her “I know what you’re thinking, Mom, but I assure you my relationship with the housekeeper is purely professional.”

A week later, the housekeeper told John that ever since his mother’s visit a silver gravy ladle has been missing. John sent his mother a note which said, “Mom, I’m not saying you did take the gravy ladle, and I’m not saying you didn’t, but the fact remains one has been missing since you were here”.

A few days later he receives a note from his mother. “John: I’m not saying you sleep with your housekeeper, nor am I saying you’re not. But the fact remains that if she were sleeping in her own bed she would have found the gravy ladle by now. Love, Mom”.

— —

There are three kinds of men in this world…
Some remain single and make wonders happen.
Some have girlfriends and see wonders happen.
The rest get married and wonder what happened???

— —

Recently scientists revealed that beer contains small traces of female hormones.

To prove their theory, the scientists fed 100 men twelve bottles of beer each. The scientists observed that 100% of the male test group talked excessively without making sense, became emotional, and couldn’t drive.

No further testing is planned.

— —

— — —

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 Junior on the University of North Dakota Women’s Track and Field team.

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

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

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

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

Rachel Hefta, a sophmore, 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 sophomore playing basketball and tennis at the University of Minnesota Morris.

Caden Osborn, is a freshman playing basketball at the University of Minnesota Morris.

Thea Oman, a sophomore, 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