Minnesota High School Teams

This is our second year team in a High School. They are trying to figure out if we are an Activity or a Sport. The difference is if you are a Activity there is one set of guide lines and a Sport is another. Can anyone share with us what they fall under? If you make it to Worlds or State, do you get reimbursed for your food and lodging? Also, is MSHSL Robotics sanctioned like a sport?

Underneath MSHSL, Robotics is considered a sport in Minnesota. 4607 operates as a hybrid sport/activity, reaping the benefits that each designation offers. 4607 doesn’t get reimbursed for food/lodging at State or Worlds. We raise funds through sponsorships to pay for all of our trips.

As far as I am aware, 2502 operates in a very similar way to 4607.


Minnesota teams are still in a tough bind as there is no state funding (as there is in other states) and no clear guidance from the MSHSL, so the teams operate under many different forms - whether it be club, activity, or sport. This has benefits and detractions - it all depends on how your team adjusts.

However, the MSHSL does run the oldest sanctioned State Tournament so there is the argument that this can be either a sport or activity. MN FIRST and MSHSL have left it to the local school districts to decide how each team will incorporate.

My suggestion is to have the coach/lead mentor meet with the administration to align the team within the school’s guidelines. It may mean that the team presents to the school board and ultimately they (the school board) decides where the team falls.

Please note that this is not an easy decision as there are many other clubs/activities that wish to have the ‘Varsity Sport’ brand embellished on their activity. Please note that if/when your team reaches that threshold, there are a whole lot of other issues that come with it.

If you want more guidance/answers, please PM me and I can help.

TO clarify: ISD 726 Becker School District acknowledges FRC 4607 as a school sport/activity. However, it only provides coaches stipends for two coaches on ‘Schedule C’. The coaches stipends are based on a six week program akin to Middle School Theater Program. There is no funding for the program outside of the coaches stipend. All funds needed for the program need to be raised by the team itself through sponsors and fundraising.

So the team needs to raise funds for the building of the robot, registration for regionals (two), and any other incursions of expenses (i.e. hotels, practice robot, off-season events, worlds, etc).

We don’t lack of funding as a detriment, we see it as an opportunity. It is an opportunity for our students to showcase to our local businesses and organizations on how vital this program is to the growth of our team; it is an opportunity to showcase the talents and skills of our students. FRC 4607 is better off with this arrangement.

For paying coaches and lettering, the MSHSL Robotics FAQ says those decisions are for the individual schools to make.

#4539 is considered a school activity similar to our FFA school group. The fee to participate is lower than that of a “sport”. We have a coaches stipend that is less than that of athletic coaches as well. Because we are a school activity, the school pays for our transportation which is very nice, as that adds up quickly, but we are on our own for registration fees and parts for the robot.

As for state, the hotel for the coach is paid as well as the transportation, but the team is on our own for lodging and food.

MSHSL sanctions the state tournament, but only the state tournament. The rest of the season and program is governed by FIRST, and the MSHSL doesn’t interfere with that at all. The last I heard, robotics doesn’t fall under either the “sport” or “fine arts” umbrellas with MSHSL, so I wouldn’t say it is sanctioned “as a sport.”

If you are looking for the eligibility guidelines MSHSL uses for robotics students, you can find the robotics-specific eligibility brochure on this page.

With respect to our school, 2052 is recognized as an activity by Irondale High School. The district has a grant application for any district program that makes it past the state level, and we received it for the first time last year for the FRC championship event. They cover 35% of the student expenses for the trip (we did not include food, we did include lodging and transportation). They don’t cover anything for state, but that’s largely because there really is no expense to the team for state due to our proximity to the event.

2177 falls under the umbrella of the “Activities Director” (formerly known as the Athletics Director, they changed the title to be more encompassing a couple of years ago).

I think the big question for you is… which designation works better for your team? One of the hardest part some teams have is working with their school to the best advantage of their program, and it sounds like this is a possible turning point for your program!

Thank you for all of your input! It has been very helpful!!

In Cambridge, 5464 is listed as a activity, however this is simply to lower the price to join the team (In our district all activity’s/sports have entrance fees), the school provides us with; 3 paid coaches, full access to their machine, welding, woods, automotive, and newly established robotics shops, along with space in a school storage facility. my point is, it does not matter so much what your team is designated as, its how well you make your needs, wants, and ambitions known to your school board. (P.S. make friends with activities director, principal, and school board reps, and go strait to the board because they have the power to make changes to the system if they fell its necessary)

I hope I was of any help and good luck! :slight_smile:

Yes, you all were very insightful and helpful. Very much appreciated.