The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Representative Council on Wednesday approved a phased-in approach to fall high school sports.
Practices for lower-risk sports, which include Lower Peninsula girls golf, Lower Peninsula boys tennis and Upper Peninsula girls tennis, cross country and Lower Peninsula girls swimming and diving, can begin on Aug. 12, while competitions for these sports may begin on Aug. 19 and Aug. 21.
Moderate and high-risk sports, which include football, volleyball and boys soccer, may practice but cannot participate in competition. The MHSAA will release a timeline for these three sports by Aug. 20.
Practice for boys soccer and volleyball can begin practice on Aug. 12, while football can begin practice on Aug. 10. For the week of Aug. 10, practice sessions for football can consist of conditioning, physical training and skill work with no player equipment expect for helmets. Practices with full pads and equipment can begin on Monday, Aug. 17.
The start of volleyball and swimming and diving practices are contingent on which region the school is a part of in Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start Plan. Currently, only two regions of Michigan are in Phase 5, which allows for limited indoor activity. Phase 4 regions are not allowed to host indoor competition or practice. Volleyball and swimming and diving can begin practice outdoors if not allowed indoors by Aug. 12.
“The Council, reflecting on the positive impact on their athletes this summer from taking part in offseason training, feels it’s of utmost importance to continue athletic activity moving forward,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said in a statement. “If we take a month off, our students will find opportunities to compete through non-school entities that may not be as focused on safety. Our athletic directors and coaches can provide the safest-possible environment to return to sports, and this phased-in approach to competition will help schools continue building on progress already made.
“The Council chose to make these adjustments to help ensure our athletes have a safe regular season this fall. As we continue to solidify the regular season, we can then turn our attention to building a safe postseason for our athletes.”
The Representative Council also voted to cancel scrimmages for all fall sports and approved limitations on the number of teams that can compete at regular-season tournaments, invitationals or multi-team events.