By GREG GIELCZYK
NORTHERN MICHIGAN – Right now, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) is planning on fall sports as usual, or as close to usual as it can get amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
During her press latest press conference, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she was interested in the possibility of moving the spring sports, which have the least physical contact, to the fall. Then switch football, which has considerable physical contact, to the spring.
She’s leaving it up to the MHSAA to come up with a game plan for sports.
Kimmerly says that determination of a season flip will be made in about three weeks. If the state is not where it needs to be in the governor’s Michigan Safe Start Plan, he says that switch is a very real possibility.
Semi-pro football teams have started their seasons in Traverse City and Petoskey, with this part of the state in Phase 5. But teams in parts of the state still in Phase 4 can throw passes, but defenses are not permitted to cover the receivers. Full contact is forbidden.
Kimmerly says the MHSAA’s desire is to afford everyone the opportunity to do as much as possible as soon as possible under the circumstances, and just asks that everyone continue to work with the guidelines.
Social distancing is extremely difficult in football, soccer and lacrosse. Girls volleyball would be tough as well since it is an indoor sport with crowds gathered in a confined space. Same with girls swimming and diving in the Lower Peninsula.
It’s a sport by sport process, Kimmerly added.
Phase 5 allows for a larger number of fans to be in attendance, but Kimmerly admitted there is a very real possibility that full crowds will not be permitted for any sport this fall, indoors or outside.
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