Michigan plans to push ahead with fall sports as schedule, with flexibility to change

The plan in Michigan is to start fall high school sports as scheduled, even though those plans could change anytime between now and the start of fall practices on Aug. 10, the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Friday.

The MHSAA’s executive council met Wednesday to discuss possible options before deciding that options like flipping the fall and spring sports season, or pushing high-risk sports like to football into early 2021, were not feasible in Michigan.

Michigan plays boys soccer in the fall and girls soccer in the spring (it’s the opposite in Washington), so flipping those seasons wouldn’t be feasible. Michigan also plays the high-contact sport of boys lacrosse in the spring, so flipping that with football also would be counterproductive.

The idea of holding outdoors sports in February or even March did not make sense in Michigan where winter weather can linger deep into the early part of the year.

So Michigan will push ahead as schedule, and make adjustments as needed.

“I think with that plan will be the adjustments,” Mark Uyl, executive director of the MHSAA, said in a radio interview. “You know what, the first option is that we start those sports the week of Aug. 10, and if everybody is safe and healthy, we play those seasons and finish them, and everything is great. The second thing is, as Aug. 10 gets closer and we see that the data won’t allow us to start on time, on the 10th, so we delay the start of that whole group of sports until later in the month. Maybe there’s a scenario, based on the data that some sports can start on the week of Aug. 10, those lower-risk sports, but maybe another group of sports has to be delayed. Then there could be a scenario where some sports could go on and be played during the fall, but others would have to be postponed, and moved into the spring and summer next year. And that would certainly also be the case if all those fall sports could not start.”

One decision the MHSAA did make was to extend the 2020-21 high school sports calendar deep into next summer, if necessary.

“The other thing that I think folks need to understand is that if we have to go into July next year, to finish some of our activities, we’re going to do so,” Uyl said. “We have heard, over and over again, from schools, and from parents — and most importantly — from kids, is we are willing to do whatever it takes here to get our seasons in.

“Especially, I never want to look at a senior class again of kids that have to go without a season, which our kids this past (spring) had to.”

Click here to read all about Michigan’s approach.

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