NOVAK: The clock keeps ticking

Another week has gone by and still no word out of Lansing and East Lansing about boys soccer and volleyball.

The clock keeps ticking, and we are starting to run out of time to decide what to do with the rest of the Michigan high school fall sports. Even worse, now there is a story floating around that the Michigan High School Athletic Association might rethink its decision on football if the governor changes one of her executive orders.

Are you kidding me?

I love high school sports. I love football, but I am nearing my breaking point when it comes to the waffling back and forth about what to do with these sports. I am tired of hearing everyone say that Indiana and Ohio are playing football. They ask, “why are we not able to do the same thing?”

It takes me back to being a kid when my parents would say, “if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” Of course not. So, let us use the same logic with sports.

There is not a one-size-fits all solution to a pandemic. Some states are doing better than others with dealing with COVID-19. Just like some areas of Michigan are handling the pandemic better than others.

The problem that everyone wants to overlook is that this really needs to be an all for one, one for all situations. I realize that is not the case with volleyball and soccer, which can go to a region of Michigan that is open for competition or to another state that allows sports to be played, But it should be.

How is it fair to six regions in the state of Michigan to sit around and watch two regions of the state be able to compete in every sport offered in the fall except football? The answer, of course, is it is not. So, let us say at some point everything gets opened except football. Maybe two of the regions get to play a full schedule in 2020, while other regions are forced for one reason or another to play just a handful of games.

Does it become fair when the postseason comes around? Some teams would have a tremendous advantage over others based on just being on the court or on the pitch. Teams that may have graduated a large group of players may need the entire season to prepare for the state tournament. Is it fair to them to be thrown in with teams that played all of their matches and got to shift players around based on what was learned during the regular season?

I do not think so.

The longer we drag this out, the worse it may end up for everyone involved. I can already tell that Michigan High School Athletic Association Executive Director Mark Uly is running out of patience with the governor’s office. I am sure the governor and her administration are getting frustrated by the amount of push-back they are receiving while just trying to keep everyone safe and healthy.

These are not easy times. There are no easy decisions. But, as I have said before, take the information you have on hand now, formulate a decision and make it. It may turn out that it was the best decision possible for the state of Michigan. It may turn out to be a complete disaster. But we need to make a decision, so we can begin to move forward.

In approximately two weeks, our high school boys soccer, volleyball, swimming and diving teams will have been practicing for a month. It is time to give these hard-working athletes an answer on what 2020 has in store for them.

 

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at scott.novak@leaderpub.com.

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