The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Friday that schools will start the 2020-21 school year playing fall sports as typically scheduled, as long as the state's schools plan progresses enough to allow this.
The main plan being moved forward by the MHSAA starts with fall sports to start and be played as scheduled. However, some or all fall sports practices or competitions could be delayed under certain circumstances.
High school football practices are scheduled to begin Aug. 10 with other fall sports set to being practice on Aug. 12.
MHSAA says the next step, if COVID-19 deters the main plan, is to call for lower-risk fall sports to be played with higher-risk sports postponed. If all fall sports are suspended because of the virus, they will be rescheduled during a reconfigured calendar in which winter sports would begin in November, followed by the conclusion of fall and spring seasons, potentially extending into July 2021.
The state high school sports association said these plans are entirely contingent upon schools and regions being allowed to reopen under the governor's MI Safe Start Plan. The Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan are in Phase 5, which allows for some indoor activity, while the rest of the state is in Phase 4, which does not all for indoor training, practice or competition.
“Our student-athletes just want to play, and we’ve gone far too long without them playing. But doing so safely, of course, remains the priority,” 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’s important for keeping students in our schools and keeping students in our sports programs.
“We remain grateful to the Governor for the opportunity to build the schedule and policies for returning sports to schools. We will continue to support her directives and those of the state and local health departments as we work to create the safest environment for all involved in our activities.”
The staff with the MHSAA is developed COVID-19 practice policies for all fall sports and will make those available to schools as the season approaches. The representative council will meet again on July 29 to further discuss how to progress.
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