Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer has suggested that the state flip some fall and spring high school sports in order to best enforce social distancing protocols.
The Detroit News reported Tuesday that Whitmer is considering prep sports among the Michigan Safe Start Plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Whitmer believes that fall sports like football, soccer and volleyball are inherently capable of spreading the virus. Therefore, it might be prudent to push them back and give Michigan more time to fight COVID-19. Similarly, individualized sports like tennis or golf have less contact and could theoretically be played in the fall.
“I’m also calling on the Michigan High School Athletic Association to consider postponing fall sports that have the impossibility of social distancing that’s a part of them,” Whitmer said, according to The Detroit News. “Consider moving those to the spring and running some of the more individualized sports like track and field or tennis or golf to the fall. I anticipate a decision coming from them somewhere around July 20 to 25. That’s what they’ve indicated.”
Michigan hasn’t had any high school sports since the coronavirus canceled everything in mid-March. Some schools have begun to hold summer conditioning with increased focus on social distancing and hygiene.
“The Michigan High School Athletic Association and the National Federal of State High School Associations are continuing to develop guidance for how sports can be played safely, and so we’re calling on schools to follow those guidelines,” Whitmer said.
The governor discussed high school sports on Monday’s Jamie & Stoney radio show on 97.1 The Ticket, saying “There are some states that are considering flipping seasons. … I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not, but they are ideas and thoughts that people are bringing to the conversation to continue to have these sporting opportunities for young people but also keep them safe.”
“That’s one of the things that has been discussed during the whole conversation and everything is still on the table,” MHSAA spokesman John Johnson told The Detroit News on Monday.
Whitmer signed an executive order last week allowing professional sports leagues to resume in the state without live audiences.
“While this is an encouraging step in the reopening of our economy, it is critical for athletes to continue social distancing and taking precautions to stay safe,” Whitmer said, according to The Detroit News. “We want to keep our momentum going and keep moving forward, so it’s incumbent on everyone doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
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