MHSAA issues statement on decision regarding fall sports

Mark Uyl, executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, released a statement on Wednesday afternoon reaffirming that the decision to play multiple sports in the fall will be up to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. His statement was in response to Whitmer’s comments earlier in the day that she will be speaking soon on the status of high school athletics this fall.

“The MHSAA has been in constant contact with the Governor’s office seeking answers and direction for fall sports under EO 160 since that order was issued, expressing the urgency for these decisions on behalf of our member school students, staff and families,” Uyl said in his statement on Wednesday. “This direct communication will continue and we will take Governor Whitmer at her word today that decisions will be made and shared with everyone very soon. We will have no other comment or media availability until the Governor addresses these athletic questions.”

On Aug. 14, the MHSAA – under Whitmer’s order – postponed football, which is considered high-risk, until the spring. Soccer, volleyball and swimming and diving are permitted in much of northern Michigan but not the rest of the state under interpretations of Executive Order 160 given to the MHSAA by the governor’s staff.

Uyl said Monday the decision rests with Whitmer on whether soccer, volleyball and swimming move from the practice areas to competitive games and meets in much of the state.

The governor’s school reopening road map, issued June 30, allows for competition during the coronavirus pandemic, her broader “safe start” order — amended July 29 — does not, unless participants stay 6 feet (1.83 meters) apart. The group later received guidance from Whitmer’s office that sports deemed to be low-risk — golf, tennis and cross country — were OK to proceed.