Strict rules aim to keep football going amid pandemic

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Many didn’t think the day would come, but Friday kicks off the 2020 high school football season in Michigan.

Cole Andrews, the athletic director at Rockford Public Schools, said once administrators got the go-ahead on the season, they combed through all the regulations and guidelines needed to prepare for Friday night’s home opener.

“We’re just excited for Friday night, to be able to get the lights back on,” Andrews said.

But that excitement is cautious.

“We want to be the example for doing things the right way, not the wrong way,” Andrews said.

He knows that just like the game of football, there are rules and regulations both on and off the field this year to combat the spread of coronavirus.

It starts with the ultimate social distancing enforcement: Each player, coach and administrator gets only two tickets for their loved ones. There will be no exceptions.

“They can use those how they wish. It can be for grandma, grandpa, mom and dad, siblings, friends, family, friends it doesn’t matter who it is. It’s up to them who those guests are,” Andrews said.

“We’re going to have a lot of security here to make sure we don’t have people sneaking in or watching at the fence lines things of that nature,” he added.

Once the spectators carrying a coveted ticket are inside the stadium gates, they have to stay inside. There’s no re-entry. The bleachers are marked with ‘X’s to show fans where they can and can’t sit. They must bring and wear a mask.

“If they don’t have a mask, they won’t be admitted,” Andrews said.

Andrews said the rules will be enforced because they have to be. He expects most parents and fans to follow them for the good of the players.

“I think people understand. This is an opportunity that originally was taken away and now is back. We certainly don’t want to jeopardize that,” Andrews said.

People at home can watch Rockford’s game on the NFHS Network and listen on Michigan Sports Radio.