MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Willmar softball coach Guy Nelsen didn't realize the trouble he was causing when he took his team to Disney World in Florida for two games and four scrimmages late last month.
But when they returned home, he found out they had broken a Minnesota State High School League rule. Bylaw 411 says scrimmage played with an umpire counts as a game unless the league grants a waiver.
"For the last 10 to 15 years, teams have been doing this," Nelsen said Monday. "And this is the first time it has ever been brought up."
Softball and baseball teams can play a maximum of 20 games before playoffs. So about 20 softball and baseball teams in Minnesota are canceling up to 12 varsity games because of scrimmages they now have to count as games. Most, if not all those scrimmages, were at one of three Florida sites: Orlando, Cocoa Beach or Fort Pierce.
Eden Prairie, the defending Class 3A softball champion, is canceling 12 games.
The number of affected teams could grow as more come forward with scrimmage violations, some coaches say. And sports such as football, basketball and hockey, which play a lot of scrimmages, might have to look closer at what defines a game.
The issue came to light when one unnamed school, before its Florida trip last month, asked the league for clarification on Bylaw 411.
Teams appear to be adjusting. They are now starting to apply for waivers, said Skip Peltier, an associate league director. Applications for waivers in baseball and softball didn't happen before, Peltier said, even though Bylaw 411 has been on the books for as long as he can remember. This is his 19th year on the league staff.
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