The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) has announced that schools will begin the 2020-21 year playing fall sports as normally scheduled during the coronavirus pandemic but with potential interruptions if necessary.
If the situation of the pandemic becomes worse, the MSHAA said that the start of some fall sports practices would be delayed. If all fall sports are canceled, they will be postponed and rescheduled to be completed by July 2021, with winter sports being moved up to November.
MHSAA Representative Council
The association’s legislative body met with MSHAA staff virtually and had a meeting regarding the starting dates of fall sports practices. They came up with a series of ideas for playing sports beginning in August and plans to meet again on July 29 for further discussion. Currently, high school football practices are scheduled to start on Aug. 10, while all other fall sports start by Aug. 12.
MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said, “Our plan moving forward is Fall in the Fall, starting on time. We’re excited to continue moving forward to bring back sports safely. It is important for keeping students in our schools and keeping students in our sports programs.”
They considered switching fall and spring sports. However, they determined that it was not a feasible plan. Fall sports like football, volleyball, swimming, diving, and boys’ soccer have a high risk of transmission due to close contact or require indoor facilities.
They figured that traditional spring sports like girls’ soccer and lacrosse carry a similar risk in terms of the coronavirus transmission. Also, switching would force student-athletes to pick between sports that they have previously played.
Risks of Coronavirus
Over the past few months, Michigan has been able to slow the spread of the coronavirus better than any other state. The daily number of cases dropped from 1,953 on April 3 to 74 on June 14.
However, the recent surge of positive cases nationwide has affected the state as well. With 600 confirmed new cases per day, MHSAA had to plan ways to ensure student-athletes’ safety.
Various football programs across the state canceled workouts as players and coaches were tested positive, and other teams suspended practice to avoid possible exposure. Most of the workouts that were supposed to start this week were canceled and will not resume until July 27.
Although football coaches are glad to have a chance to play football this fall, coaches and members are aware of the risk involved. They also understood that the season could be delayed or postponed if the situation aggravates to make sure conditions are safe for everybody.
The MHSAA is developing coronavirus-related safety protocols for all fall sports and planning on providing them in the coming weeks.
Coaches are emphasizing for families and the general public to take the matter seriously and follow proper guidelines to prevent further damage. The coaches do not have a problem and completely understand parents who are reluctant to send their child to workouts.
Players and members of the sports teams are being educated about the situation. Everyone is hoping for the best and having a wonderful season without any interruptions.