Online petitions demand MHSAA reinstate fall football

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two online petitions are calling for the Michigan High School Athletic Association to reinstate football for the fall.

Both are on change.org and have received more than 38,000 combined signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.

The MHSAA announced Friday that football would not be held in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic because the sport presents a high risk for spreading the virus. The organization hopes to play the season in the spring.

“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,” MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said in a written statement Friday.

Many of the people signing the petitions are worried about what missing high school football means for their students or communities.

“Kids need to play. This is going to keep them from not getting depressed,” one supporter wrote.

Another said, “My son is in football. He wants to play! If the parents and kids are willing, let them!”

Asked about the petitions, the MHSAA released this statement Tuesday:

“We are aware of course that the decision to postpone football is disappointing to thousands across the state. Football is our most-played high school sport, and a rallying place for communities all over Michigan — and that is good news. However, our own surveying of our membership last week showed a clear difference in schools wanting to continue playing football versus wanting to postpone until spring. Continuing was not feasible. We understand the disappointment over not playing this fall. But we are focused on preparing opportunities for our football athletes to remain engaged over these next few months and then have a worthwhile competitive opportunity next spring.”