MHSAA: Football fans can return to stands Oct. 9, up to 1,000 per game

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

High school football fans are about to be allowed back in the stands.

Mark Uyl, the executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, sent a memo to the state's athletic directors and football coaches, saying as many a 1,000 fans can be in the stands at outdoor football stadiums starting with games Oct. 9. The memo went out Wednesday.

Stadiums can be seated up to 30% capacity, up to 1,000. For smaller stadiums, capacity will be less than 1,000.

Michigan high school football games will be allowed to increase the number of spectators starting on Oct. 9.

Uyl cites Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's latest executive order, No. 183, in allowing for more fans in the stands.

Through this weekend's games, only a limited number of fans are allowed, with each player on the roster being allowed to invite two acquaintances.

"Social distancing MUST be followed at all times for everyone except athletes in active participation during the contest," Uyl wrote in the seven-point memo.

All athletes and spectators must continue to wear face masks.

This announcement marks the first allowance of significant crowds since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in March. The Lions are playing with no fans, and Michigan and Michigan State will play with no fans other than family members when the Big Ten season starts Oct. 24.

Uyl also issued guidelines for other fall sports.

For indoor sporting events, such as volleyball and swimming, 500 spectators is the capacity. For smaller venues, 20% or 25% capacity is allowed, depending on which region of the state.

For outdoor sports without a fixed stadium, such as cross country, golf and soccer, 30 spectators are allowed for each 1,000 square feet, up to 1,000 spectators.

Uyl added that each school can install more restrictive spectator limits if it chooses.

In regards to tickets, when they are sold in advance, they must be split 50-50 for home and away schools, and can be a first-come, first-serve basis when sold at the gate.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984