There will be no high school football in Michigan this fall.
With the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and no vaccine in sight, the representative council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association met Friday and decided to move the 2020 football season to the spring of ’21.
“At the end of the day, we did everything we could to find a path forward for football this fall,” MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said. “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.
“No one is willing to take the risk of COVID being passed on because of a high-risk sport. Decisions have to be made on our other sports as well, but none of those carry the same close, consistent, and face-to-face contact as football.”
The MHSAA, however, hopes to maintain its other fall sports, most notably volleyball and girls swimming, which have not been able to practice in school gyms or pools due to Gov. Grethen Whitmer’s Phase 4 regulations and Executive Order 160.
Boys and girls cross-country, girls golf (Lower Peninsula), boys soccer, boys tennis and girls golf are also played in the fall.
The MHSAA was forced into a corner when virtually all of the college teams in the state moved their football seasons into the spring.
Because of the pandemic, no high school event has been played in Michigan since March 11, when the MHSAA halted all unfinished state tournaments with hopes of competing them at a later date.
Those tournaments were never completed and none of the spring sports were able to have a single contest.
Some consideration was given to swapping the fall sports with the spring sports, which are all held outdoors. But Uyl did not want to risk a sudden uptick in the coronavirus would wipe out their seasons for a second straight year.
The move of football to the spring could mean some of the state’s top players who are planning to graduate early in order to enroll in college in January — Clarkston’s Rocco Spindler (Notre Dame), West Bloomfield’s Donovan Edwards, Detroit Cass Tech’s Raheem Anderson (Michigan), Clarkston’s Garrett Dellinger (LSU), East Lansing’s Andrel Anthony Jr. (Michigan) — will not play their senior seasons of high school football.
It is not known if colleges playing their seasons in the spring will accept early enrollees due to scholarship limitations.
Exactly when in the spring the football season will take place remains a mystery. It will require a 14-week window if the MHSAA allows two weeks of preseason practice, six regular season games instead of nine but allows everyone in the state playoffs.
That will significantly cut into the spring sport season, whose tournaments could be extended into July.
Mick McCabe is a former longtime columnist for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1. Save $10 on his new book, “Mick McCabe’s Golden Yearbook: 50 Great Years of Michigan’s Best High School Players, Teams & Memories,” by ordering right now at McCabe.PictorialBook.com.