MHSAA maintaining fall sports calendar — hopefully

High School Preps
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UNDATED (WOOD/AP) — The Michigan High School Athletic Association says fall sports will be played as usual — assuming the state of the coronavirus outbreak allows.

In a Friday release, MHSAA said fall sports would go on “as traditionally scheduled, but with contingency concepts for potential interruptions due to the spread of COVID-19.”

Currently, football practice can begin Aug. 10 and other fall sports Aug. 12. But MHSAA warned that if necessary, those starts or the start of games could be delayed. It’s also possible some lower-risk sports could get started while higher-risk ones are pushed back.

If everything gets called off, the sports calendar may change to have winter sports starting in November and then fall and spring sports running into July.

MHSAA Representative Council said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s suggestion to swap the fall and spring seasons, in theory moving back close-contact sports like football and forward more socially distant ones like golf, was “not a feasible plan.” It noted that some traditionally spring sports like girls soccer and lacrosse are high risk like football and volleyball.

“Our student-athletes just want to play, and we’ve gone far too long without them playing. But doing so safely, of course, remains the priority,” executive director Mark Uyl said. “Our plan moving forward is fall in the fall, starting on time.”

The 19-member Council will discuss the topic again on July 29.

Even if games are played, attendance could be greatly restricted. The MHSAA earlier this week announced a way for schools to get equipment to post live games on the internet.

“Revenue sharing from viewer subscriptions can help to offset losses in ticket sales, concessions and more due to COVID-19,” said John Johnson, director of broadcast services.