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MYAS Basketball Board of Advisors Creates COVID Return to Play Task Force

On November 18, 2020, the MYAS held the Minnesota Youth Basketball Alliance (MYBA) Mini-Summit for all leaders of community-based youth basketball associations across the state. In attendance were 105 leaders representing nearly 70 Minnesota youth basketball associations. Earlier that evening, Governor Walz had announced a pause on all organized youth sports for at least four weeks, so the focus of the summit centered around a commitment to additional COVID-19 safety guideline requirements for all participants throughout Minnesota. All youth basketball associations across the state must be #strongertogether and demand a safe environment by mandating that all participants pledge to comply with all COVID-19 safety requirements. For those individuals/teams that do not commit to those goals, there will be consequences.

The summit featured Jayme Murphy from Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission and Lead Facilitator for MN Youth & Amateur Return to Play Task Force. He provided an update from MDH and Commissioner Tarek Tomes on how seriously we take this pause as a state. If we do not take these next four weeks seriously, we will not return to competition anytime soon. Our other featured guest was Dr. Jim Borchers, who is team doctor for Ohio State University and has been the co-chair for the Big Ten Conference Return to Play. He is also the President and co-founder of the U.S. Council for Athletes Health (USCAH), with whom the MYAS partners. He has committed to MYAS and MYBA member associations that the USCAH will provide guidance, support, and review of any updates to COVID-19 safety requirements. We are excited to have their expertise as we ramp up our expectations.

In addition, Randy Olson, president of Chaska basketball, and Deb Anderson, tournament director for Osseo/Maple Grove youth basketball, shared their experiences and best practices from the tournaments they held in early November. These successful events are examples of how competition can be done in an extremely safe manner.

Following this timely summit, the MYAS staff felt it was important to be proactive and not wait until we hear from the Governor on what the next steps are.

On Monday, November 22, we held a virtual emergency MYAS Basketball Board of Advisors meeting to discuss next steps. Attendance for this meeting included 21 members representing associations from Byron, Zimmerman, Forest Lake, Wayzata, St. Paul Central, Owatonna, St. Louis Park, Bloomington Jefferson, Cambridge-Isanti, Alexandria, Rogers, Shakopee, Chaska, Mahtomedi, Cottage Grove, Osseo/Maple Grove, and Minneapolis MLK. Members of the MYAS staff were on the call along with Dr. Craig Perry of USCAH.

Results of meeting:

  • MYAS Basketball Board of Advisors felt it was important to be proactive and create a COVID Return to Play Task Force. This would be specific for all MYBA members. It was mentioned that it is extremely important that the 120+ associations that are part of the MYBA commit, and those associations that have not need to do so in order for us all to be #strongertogether.
  • A Task Force was created and includes seven members of the Board of Advisors. They will meet multiple times over the next two weeks. The goal is to have a final product available for MDH and state of Minnesota to review by December 14th.
  • Dr. Craig Perry and USCAH committed to participating in all meetings with the Task Force to provide guidance, support, and review of Return to Play requirements.

A survey was sent to all MYBA member associations this past weekend asking for their thoughts on what added guidelines/requirements need to be put into place for winter community-based basketball to safely move forward. We are collecting those results and will be providing this information to the Task Force. If you are a leader of a youth basketball association and have not completed the survey, please email jeremy@myas.org.

It is imperative that youth basketball associations from Roseau to Albert Lea and from Moorhead to Winona comply with any additional requirements in order for us to continue playing basketball this season. It has been passed along to MYAS multiple times that we must be proactive as a basketball community to show how serious we are about safety being our #1 priority.

As we pause, it is up to all of us to do the right thing on behalf of young athletes across the state of Minnesota. These next few weeks will take a collective effort of following the COVID-19 prevention guidelines and recommendations that are available from  CDC and the MDH. These mitigation efforts are a priority if we want our youth athletes to return to participation this winter.

The Minnesota Youth Athletic Services will continue to provide regular updates regarding any other MYAS administered events at www.myas.org and through our Facebook and Twitter pages.

The MYAS staff hopes you have enjoyed a safe and blessed Thanksgiving weekend!

Thank you for your time and dedication to youth basketball!

Youth Sports Done Right