The Michigan High School Athletic Association Representative Council is scheduled to meet Wednesday and hammer out a plan to resume sports across the state.
Mark Uyl, the MHSAA executive director, still wants to know what’s wrong with their old plan, though.
Uyl was a guest on Tuesday afternoon’s Huge Show radio broadcast to discuss Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Monday press conference in which she extended the statewide partial shutdown restrictions through Dec. 20. Those restrictions, which began Nov. 18 and included a pause in all MHSAA sanctioned sports, were set to expire today.
The MHSAA presented government officials with a plan that would have enabled football, volleyball and girls swimming and diving teams to complete their seasons by the end of December. Uyl expressed frustration over the lack of communication.
“We get a courtesy call a few minutes before the governor’s press conference (Monday) to let us know that the extension of the pause is going to go on another 12 days and our status is unchanged,” Uyl said. “I’m all about following the science and the data and the metrics. What we were told in that phone conversation was that the epidemiology would not allow sports to resume, which would have been (Wednesday).
“When asked for specifics of that epidemiology or copies or evidence, we are still waiting for that. It was a disappointing day yesterday.”
The MHSA’s plan was for high school participants to continue to wear masks. In addition, spectators would have been prohibited at events.
Uyl said the MHSAA also presented government officials with evidence that high school sports have not been a super spreader. Uyl pointed out that 95-to-98.5 percent of all the state’s football teams played each week in all nine weeks during the fall season. He added that 94 percent to just over 98 percent of all volleyball teams played each week, and in all the rest of the fall sports, the number of participating teams never dropped below 97 percent at any time.
“We had put together an incredibly, well thought out plan, citing all of our evidence and data that we have collected from the first day of fall practice in August,” Uyl said. “It was a very reasonable plan to let our three ongoing fall tournaments, football, volleyball and swim, be able to get the closure and to do it safely in the month of December. We had productive conversations with decision-makers leading up to yesterday.
“The most frustrating thing is that we have yet to be given a good answer of why our plan didn’t make sense. That is probably the thing I have had the hardest time, as I have thought about this every minute since 2:30 yesterday afternoon about what we could have done differently or better.”
Uyl did not speculate on what the MHSAA’s next plan could offer. Football games, under the previous plan, would have returned Dec. 15-16 with regional games.
“I’m not sure our board is going to put dates to paper,” Uyl said. “I’m not going to go through that treadmill exercise again of the pause ending on this date and us planning and sharing that plan and asking for critical analysis and feedback from the decision makers and not getting any concern, and you wait until the next announcement and you get a bunch a kids across the state very frustrated and disappointed.”
“What was a little disappointing was that our three government leaders didn’t even bring up sports in their prepared marks,” he added regarding the press conference. “It was only because of a reporter’s question at the very end of the press conference did the issue even came up.”