Return to high school sports could mean swapped seasons

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Football in the spring, track and field in the fall? Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says both sports and others could make the switch to help lessen the blow of a second wave of COVID-19.

There are no definitive answers yet, detailing what the return of high school sports will look like. Fall practices don’t begin until August so decisionmakers still have some time to iron out the specifics. 

However, Whitmer outlined what the return to high school sporting events might look like ​during a news conference Tuesday

The road back to filled bleachers and Friday night lights are all part of the MI Safe Schools Roadmap. The protocols include different expectations depending on what phase of the outbreak the region holding the event is in. ​

>>Online: MI Safe Schools Roadmap

Detailed steps and procedures, guidance for students, fans and staff alike include proper hygiene practice before, during and after the event. A health confirmation would be required like a signature. Equipment would be routinely disinfected throughout play and fans would have to wear masks and observe six feet of social distance at all times. 

Whitmer says she is certain sports will return but at times we may not be accustomed to. ​

“I’m calling on the Michigan High School Athletic Association to consider postponing fall sports that have the impossibility of social distancing as a part of them,” Whitmer said. “Consider moving those sports to the spring and running some of the more individualized sports like track and field or tennis or golf to the fall.” ​

MHSAA says they will listen to the governor’s request of putting less-contact sports in the fall when experts expect COVID-19 cases to surge again — although a decision moving forward has not yet been made. ​

MHSAA expects to release more information as the month continues with a final decision coming no later than July 25. ​