MHSAA wants to finish up football in December

The MHSAA says it wants to complete the football season by Dec. 31. (Herald Review file photo)

The MHSAA says it wants to complete the football season by Dec. 31. (Herald Review file photo)

LANSING – Michigan State Athletic Association executive director Mark Uyl addressed the media Monday to discuss the decision to suspend all high school sports activities effectively immediately because of rising COVID 19 numbers.

The MHSAA action came after the order from the Michigan Department of Human Health and Services on Sunday.

Football still has three weeks of playoffs while girls swimming and diving had only its finals set for Saturday. This was the final week for volleyball.

“Our plan in all of those tournaments is they are suspended, they are not canceled,” Uyl said. “Our goal when we started off this new athletic year is we would find a way to have three seasons in 2020-21. We were going to find out a way that each of those three seasons culminated with a finish during 2020-21. Certainly with the latest curveball, all of us got, we’re headed in a three-week thing. Our goals and plans have not changed.

“We’re meeting with our Board of Directors this week on Wednesday. What our goal on Wednesday will be is to create updated schedules. After our board meets, we’ll be able to share what will be the schedule for the swimming finals, the last three rounds of the volleyball finals and the schedule for the last three rounds of football.”

Uyl said there will be a plan to complete those three sports in the calendar year, 2020.

“We’ll take the emergency order at its face value and wait until Dec. 8, and hopefully our numbers get to a point where we can resume practice and competition and we’ll try to get those three fall tournaments completed by Jan. 1,” Uyl said.

As for winter sports, “once the three-week period is over, we’ll try to set a date for when practices can restart and then set competition schedules and what winter tournaments can look like from there,” Uyl said.

The information should be provided to the media by Wednesday afternoon.

The MHSAA executive director said the state’s shutdown decision was not a major surprise, considering the data on rising COVID cases

“What happened from Oct. 15 to today is what led our state governmental officials to institute the three-week pause,” Uyl said. “Our assumption is if we all do our part the next three weeks, we can get the COVID numbers to head in the other direction and can get them to where they were our first two months of the fall.”

Uyl was asked about those who fear the three week suspension could turn into a cancellation exactly as what happen in March.

“This is much different to where we were at last March and April,” he replied. “This was a new phenomenon to all of us. In March and April, we had plans the entire time to complete winter and have a spring season But we ran out of runway when the governor made the decision to end the in person school year.

“We have two-months plus of data where we’ve shown where sports can be played and played safely. In football we have a 94 percent-plus of football schools being able to play each week and very similar stats for volleyball.”