MHSAA soccer, swimming, volleyball on the clock; Gov. Whitmer says decision coming soon
The ball's in somebody's court. But whose court, that's the question.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan High School Athletic Association on Wednesday volleyed comments and statements, amid the association's continued shutdown of some fall sports — including football — because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MHSAA in recent weeks has openly pleaded for Whitmer to provide additional guidance on the return of prep sports, specifically as it pertains to her latest executive order. They need it softened, the MHSAA said.
The governor, however, made no official declarations on the topic Wednesday, other than to say some news on that front could be coming "soon."
"I'm going to continue to work with the association to ensure that steps that are taken are absolutely tethered to the best science and keep our athletes and their families and our educators safe," Whitmer said.
The MHSAA, shortly after Whitmer's press conference Wednesday, issued a terse statement.
Attributed to MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl, the statement read: "The MHSAA has been in constant contact with the governor's office seeking answers and direction for fall sports under EO 160 since that order was issued, expressing the urgency for these decisions on behalf of our member school students, staff and families. This direct communication will continue and we will take Gov. Whitmer at her word today that decisions will be made and shared with everyone very soon."
The MHSAA said it would decline all media requests until Whitmer makes her decision.
Whitmer's latest executive order, issued in August, read in part, "We cannot afford to relax our vigilance."
The MHSAA announced last month the postponement of football, with hopes of playing a spring season. It planned to conduct the rest of the fall sports in the fall season, including golf, tennis, cross country, boys soccer, girls swimming and volleyball.
But boys soccer, girls swimming and volleyball remain on hold in regions of the state still under limitations — physical-contact issues as they pertain to boys soccer, indoor crowd gatherings for swimming and volleyball — by Whitmer's executive order.
Uyl had previously indicated that if Whitmer didn't adjust the executive order by the end of August, it would be difficult to salvage the seasons for those three sports. An MHSAA spokesman told MLive this week that if the order is adjusted, fall football could actually be back on the table.
As for high-school football, two of Michigan's neighboring states, Indiana and Ohio, are playing this fall, while Illinois has moved its season to the spring, and Wisconsin continues to deliberate.