EAST LANSING, Mich. The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association today announced it will move the 2020 Fall football season to Spring 2021, due to football’s higher risk for spreading COVID-19. The football season switch was made based on consultation with state health department officials and after surveying MHSAA member high schools on their progress and preferences after the first four days of practice. Football is considered a high-risk sport for potential spread of the COVID-19 virus because of its level of player-to-player contact.
“At the end of the day, we did everything we could to find a path forward for football this fall,” said MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl. “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.”
As of now, all other fall sports will proceed as scheduled. 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.
Volleyball, boys soccer and Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving also began practice Aug. 12, and competition guidelines for those sports will be announced Aug. 19. Schools in regions under Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan remain unable to play volleyball or swim/dive indoors due to governmental restrictions. Further guidance from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office is expected in the near future regarding these indoor facilities.
Details for the spring football season including a specific schedule and format will be announced over the next few months. The MHSAA will be working to limit overlap of spring football and the traditional Spring sport seasons.
“While this is tremendously disappointing, we will do everything possible to provide the best possible experience in the spring while adding football into the calendar,” Uyl said.