Michigan high school football postponed until spring due to virus

Other fall sports to continue as scheduled, officials say

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2019, file photo, a player prepares to hike the ball at the line of scrimmage during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game between Ohio State and Wisconsin in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast, File) (Aj Mast, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) announced Friday that the fall football season has been moved to the spring amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The association elected to postpone the 2020 football season due to a high risk for COVID-19 spread among athletes. Officials say football is specifically considered a “high-risk” sport due to the “level of player-to-player contact.”

“At the end of the day, we did everything we could to find a path forward for football this fall,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “But while continuing to connect with the governor’s office, state health department officials, our member schools’ personnel and the Council, there is just too much uncertainty and too many unknowns to play football this fall.

“No one is willing to take the risk of COVID being passed on because of a high-risk sport. Decisions have to be made on our other sports as well, but none of those carry the same close, consistent, and face-to-face contact as football,” Uyl added.

The MHSAA previously announced in July that fall sports would carry on as usual, but would be moved to the spring of 2021 if necessary.

All other fall sports will reportedly continue as previously scheduled.

Officials say volleyball and soccer are considered moderate-risk for the spread of COVID-19. Low-risk sports include cross country, golf, tennis and swimming and diving, officials said.

Additional details regarding competition guidelines for spring sports are expected to be announced next week.

The MHSAA’s football postponement comes after a number of college-level conferences have announced cancelations of fall sports competitions due to COVID-19.

Last week, the Big Ten and the Mid-American conferences both canceled plans for fall sports, with hopes of playing in the spring instead.

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Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.