High school football is back this fall in Michigan. In response to an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan High School Athletic Association voted Thursday to reinstate all sports according to the Detroit Free Press
Football had been suspended until the spring by the MHSAA on Aug. 14 due to the pandemic, but when Whitmer cited guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to not prohibit contact sports (she didn't support the idea either), the state's high school sports governing body changed its course.
Football practices will begin next week. Games will start Sept. 17-18 and the playoffs will likely include all teams.
In addition, volleyball, soccer and swimming can begin Wednesday.
Michigan was one of 16 states in addition to the District of Columbia to move football to 2021. It becomes the first to reverse course back to the fall, though other states are looking into it. The change largely has to do with the relative success reported from other states that are currently playing football, including Utah, which was the first to start play on Aug. 13.
Seventeen states played games last weekend and six more, including Florida and Georgia, were planning to kick off this week.
MHSAA executive director Mark Yul didn't get the numbers quite right but told the Free Press: "With 25 states practicing and playing games and another eight states ready to go in a couple of days, it's different than three weeks ago. You're seeing states, whose COVID-19 numbers are far worse than Michigan's. It has been, nationwide, a very successful start to the year."
Crowd sizes will be limited, according to the governor's office, and all social distancing protocols will be required, including the wearing of masks. The MHSAA, according to the Free Press, expects to allow two tickets for each player. Live streaming restrictions will largely be lifted.