SE MN Youth Basketball League

Information and History


Note: The 2020-2021 season has been cancelled, and I have retired from my role as director and organizer of the SE Mn Youth Basketball League. The league is now disbanded, with the hope that area schools will develop plans for an alternate method of organizing play for our students beginning in 2021-2022. The information within this site is available for review and all documents, etc., within are available for use as anyone sees fit.

Bill Theisen

Director, SE Mn Youth Basketball

The SE Mn Youth Basketball League exists to provide a way for youth in grades 4, 5, and 6 to find basketball playing opportunities without all of the expense and hassle of being in a tournament every weekend. The concept started years ago for our girls’ teams in SE Minnesota because we just couldn’t find enough tournament opportunities for them. A few years later we expanded to boys' teams as well, not because of a lack of tournament opportunity but primarily because the cost of entering tournaments was getting quite prohibitive. 

Our league, at its roots, is a community education league. By this it means that all players will be provided equal opportunity to participate. Our mission is to teach our youth the game of basketball, providing relatively equal playing time to all. If your school or team has a desire to only play the top players in an effort to win at all costs, this league is not for you.

The SE Mn Youth Basketball League is a low cost alternative to tournaments. We provide regularly scheduled games, two per Saturday, over eight dates in the months of January and February. The only real expense for the league is the cost of travel to the game site, the cost of the referees and gyms when you host games, and a $25 league entry fee per team. This fee will help to cover the many hours of time the league director spends creating our league schedule, administering the league and website, and communicating with everyone in the league.

The schedule for the league is prepared by the league director. Each school participating submits Saturday dates and times that they are available to host games. Every team for a school is asked to provide hosting capability of 4 hours (4 games) for every four Saturdays they play. For example, if a school has six teams in the league and elects to play all eight Saturdays, they are asked to provide 48 hours of hosting time over the season.

This sounds like a lot but the league can be creative. For example, if you have gym time available on three or four Saturdays during the season, you could host 8 or 9 hours each Saturday, with multiple teams from your school being hosts. If you have a gym with two courts, or two gyms within your school system, you can host two games at a time. The league does its best to make it work for all, even if a school just can't provide the hosting time required.

An email alert service is available for coaches and parents to receive league schedules, schedule revisions, and cancellations by email. Sign up for this service from our league website by clicking on Email Alert Signup at the left. Please encourage your coaches and parents to subscribe to this service.

Schools may have one or more teams per grade and gender. If a school has more than one team at a single grade level and gender, the teams should be set up to be fairly equal. Players are not permitted to play on more than one team nor should they change teams in order to create a stronger team. Every effort should be made to balance out the teams.

Teams may be formed of players from multiple grades but should be assigned to the highest grade level on the team. Players in fourth grade are allowed to play up; a fourth grader may play on a fifth or sixth grade team, or a fifth grader may play on a sixth grade team.

The league emphasizes using experienced referees, however it recognizes that those individuals are difficult to find. Adults are preferred, but most schools will utilize varsity and junior varsity high school basketball players to serve as referees. Often the schools will compensate these referees at a nominal rate (i.e. $10 per game). Our league requests that all referees complete the website's video training links and referee quiz to assess their knowledge of the game, officiating techniques, and rules. (These links are located on the left of this page.) Please consider having your new referees attend a scrimmage or two with your teams to learn how to be a referee. Mix your referees so that a new referee is working with an experienced referee if at all possible. 

The SE Mn Youth Basketball League now serves over 20 schools and close to 100 teams. If you'd like your school or team to join in, please email me at any time. Organizing of the league's season begins each year in early October, with a mid-November deadline for submitting your school's team and hosting availability.

There is a great deal of information at the left regarding policies, guidelines, and rules that our league utilizes, Please check them out to gain further information. However, please know that I am more than happy to answer any and all questions. Just utilize my email address below, as email is my preferred method of communication.

Bill Theisen

SE MN Youth Basketball League Director