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MHSAA meets to talk soccer, volleyball, but no decision reached yet

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Soccer and volleyball coaches and players were anxiously awaiting a decision from the MHSAA on Wednesday for the status of their fall seasons. Would they be able to play or would they have to wait until the spring?

They’ll have to wait another day as MHSAA spokesman Geoff Kimmerly told The Detroit News: “Nothing today from us. Council will reconvene tomorrow.”

The MHSAA, for now, plans to have soccer continue playing in the fall.

The MHSAA Representative Council announced last Friday that it moved the 2020 fall football season to the spring 2021 due to COVID-19.

The high school football season is still on in Ohio and Indiana, with Indiana having season openers this Friday. Pennsylvania high school football players will know their fate Friday with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, recommending moving all high school sports back until Jan. 1.

Ohio and Indiana governors are Republican, making all the decisions look political in these Midwest states. Illinois, which also has a Democratic governor, pushed its high school football to spring.

More: 'It was a shocker': No high school football a bitter pill for Michigan coaches, players

“I know there is a lot of heartburn and frustration with just about everything now that’s COVID related and obviously football is a part of that,” MHSAA director Mark Uyl said during a radio interview on The Huge Show Wednesday afternoon. “We have a lot of different voices in the room — superintendents, principals and ADs — and they are there to represent their corners of the state.”

There is currently an online petition seeking to reinstate football in Michigan this fall. More than 30,000 signatures have already been given since MHSAA’s decision to push football to spring on Friday.

When asked if there was any chance the MHSAA could reverse its decision, Uyl said: “Anything that was talked about today with our board we will be able to communicate tomorrow. I don’t even want to give an answer because folks would speculate and read into that in every different direction.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave his go-ahead for high school football on Tuesday, prohibiting spectators at events other than family members or individuals close to the athlete, with final decisions on those people left up to schools.

Uyl said he had been in contact with neighboring state’s athletic associations.

“On a Zoom call on, if not a daily basis then almost an every-other-day basis — whether it’s the directors from the Midwest states, the directors from the Big Ten states or directors from the entire country,” Uyl said.

Of the states with Republican governors, 25 of the 26 have decided to play high school football this fall, with Maryland the lone exception. In states led by Democrats, 14 (including Michigan) are playing in the spring, seven are playing this fall and four have yet to decide.

East Lansing Hall of Fame coach Bill Feraco just wants to know if he can hold workouts with his team.

“Our approach as a staff is that we want to treat this like spring ball, depending on how quickly we could start, get maybe 20 or 24 workouts or practices in, just the stuff we missed in the spring or summer,” Feraco said. “Sometimes there has been a little disconnect. They announced Friday that the season is being moved to the spring, then Sunday said you can practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so I’m sure there’s somebody practicing right now.

“For instance, I don’t understand why the superintendents and the MHSAA are a little bit closer together and they are of course under the umbrella of the governor. But let’s coordinate some things so people aren’t making decisions without all the information. You still may want to make the same decision but get everything before people start doing things.”