MHSAA states its case for restarting sports

EDWARDSBURG — The frustration level is rising at the Michigan High School Athletic Association as the state of Michigan continues to leave it out of the discussions about COVID-19 guidelines.

Executive Director Mark Uyl was on The Huge Show Friday and revealed that the MHSAA has sent a formal letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services asking that it be allowed to restart football, volleyball and girls swimming and diving season on Dec. 9.

Whitmer and the MDHHS put Michigan on pause Nov. 15 due to rising COVID-19 numbers. A three-week break included not allowing schools to have in-person instruction and halting all sports seasons and practices.

The MHSAA was about to wrap up its swimming and diving, along with volleyball later that week, and continue its state football playoffs. Swimming and diving were scheduled for their finals, while volleyball still had quarterfinal, semifinals and finals matches yet to be played.

Football was about to reach the semifinal round in 8-man and the regional championship round in 11-man football.

“We laid out our case to finish out our three fall seasons in December,” Uyl said on The Huge Show. “We attached the caveat that if they allow us to play, but with no spectators, so be it. we’re putting kids first. If the issue is with crowds and gatherings, this plan addresses that concern.”

Later Sunday night, after the governor put the state on pause, the MHSAA released its plan to restart the fall sports seasons and resume winter sports practice for boys and girls basketball, along with wrestling.

That plan began with teams being allowed to get back to work on Dec. 9 to prepare to finish the volleyball, football and swimming and diving seasons in December and starting the winter sports season in early January.

Many believe the executive order will be extended beyond Dec. 8, forcing the MHSAA to implement its backup plan.

Uyl said the MHSAA is asking the governor and the MDHHS to either lift the ban on Tuesday or exempt high school sports and allow the seasons to continue.

“We were able to share all the data,” Uyl said. “If we’re following the science and data, all of that shows that 95 percent of our football teams were able to play this season, and that number was 98 percent in other fall sports.”

Uyl went on to say that the state would like to give the players some closure, unlike the 2019-20 winter sports athletes, who had their seasons cut short in mid-March. The state would also like to proceed with its plan to have three individual sports seasons, meaning it would not have to cancel spring sports as it did last year.

On Tuesday, the MHSAA released its updated schedule for the conclusion of the fall sports seasons. The volleyball finals would wrap up Dec. 19 in Battle Creek at the Kellogg Arena, the swimming and diving finals would also conclude Dec. 19 at Hudsonville, Grand Rapids Northview and Lake Orion High School.

The 8-man football finals would be Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 at Midland Community Stadium, with the 11-man finals set for Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 at Ford Field.

“In normal times, the optics of not having the entire student body on campus, but still playing sports doesn’t look good,” Uyl said. “But even if [Whitmer] says schools should stay closed, there’s a good argument that we should give kids one slice of normalcy.”

 

 

Berrien County

Updated MDHHS orders expand restaurant capacity, increase capacity limits, allow for expanded visitation at residential care facilities

News

Niles Township approves state-outlined poverty guidelines, purchases tractor attachment for trails, considers firefighter applicants

Cass County

Lewis Cass ISD narrows superintendent search to two candidates

Dowagiac

Dowagiac art students complete Lego murals

News

Former surgeon given 10 to 40 years for criminal sexual conduct

Breaking News

UPDATE: Two teenagers injured in shooting at Niles hotel

Dowagiac

SMC unveils scholarship guarantee

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan 589,150 cases, 15,534 deaths

Business

Applications now available for Dowagiac’s Summer in the City Festival

Breaking News

Two shot, wounded at Niles hotel

Berrien County

Michigan Works! announces healthcare hiring events

News

Niles Police Log: Feb. 18-25

Edwardsburg

Ontwa Township Edwardsburg Police Log: Feb. 15-22

Dowagiac

SMC graduate experiences Super Bowl

Dowagiac

Dowagiac women aim to create change through local government

Dowagiac

SMC COVID task force leader talks with Dowagiac Rotary Club

Business

Niles roller rink reopens following legal battle

Berrien County

Michigan Works! announces community wide survey to learn about COVID-19’s impact

Cass County

Cass County prepares to adjust to criminal justice reforms

Berrien County

Michiana Family Center seeks mentors for foster teens

Business

Nobo Michigan opens Edwardsburg location

Cassopolis

Businesses battle over land use in Cassopolis’ Industrial Park

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Feb. 19-24

Berrien County

Mount Calvary Baptist to host COVID-19 vaccination clinic March 5