Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced it’s moving its fall football season to the spring due to football’s higher risk of spreading COVID-19.
“At the end of the day, we did everything we could to find a path forward for football this fall,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “But while continuing to connect with the Governor’s office, state health department officials, our member schools’ personnel and the Council, there is just too much uncertainty and too many unknowns to play football this fall.
On July 29, the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association voted to cancel scrimmages in all Fall sports for this school year and approved limitations on numbers of teams that may compete together at regular-season tournaments, invitationals and other multi-team events.
The Council – the MHSAA’s 19-member legislative body – believed eliminating scrimmages emphasized the importance of keeping teams from mixing before the first date of the competition, and the regular-season limitations may lessen opportunities for viral spread while still allowing meets to be conducted.
The council also approved the next steps in returning sports for member schools, adopting a plan to phase in competition for Fall sports in hopes of continuing to deter the spread of COVID-19.
Volleyball and soccer are considered moderate-risk for virus spread, while cross country, golf, tennis and swimming & diving are considered low-risk.
Cross Country, Lower Peninsula girls golf and boys tennis and Upper Peninsula girls tennis began practice Aug. 12; golf and tennis teams may begin competing Aug. 19, and cross country teams may begin competing Aug. 21.
The announcement comes after the Big Ten canceled football this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Big Ten is the first Power Five conference to postpone play this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pac-12 canceled fall sports quickly after the Big Ten.