Marquette, MI – July 1, 2020 – Yesterday Governor Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference to give a Covid-19 update for the state of Michigan. During the press conference, she also gave the roadmap to K-12 public schools in Michigan returning to in-person learning, including high school sports across the state. Governor Whitmer asked the MHSAA to “consider postponing fall sports that have the impossibility of social distancing as part of them, 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.”
An autumn with baseball and softball instead of Friday night lights? Football when the days are starting to get longer instead of shorter? Luke Ghiardi caught up with Marquette Senior High School Athletic Director Alex Tiseo to get his reactions.
“This whole fall to the spring and spring to the fall contingency plan is actually something that we had looked at early on and we kind of have the ground work laid out, where you would be looking at a football first contest date in the spring of April 2nd” Tiseo said. “It’s always going to be a better alternative to have a season than not have a season, regardless of what that season’s going to look like or when it’s going to take place.”
Tiseo also mentioned that if sports were to be flipped, it would be the entirety of the sports, and not just picking and choosing which sports to move from the spring to the fall, and vise versa.
But the Upper Peninsula is in a much different stage of the pandemic than most of the state of Michigan. The U.P. and northern lower Michigan are the only two regions in phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan, and that does not look to be changing. So could the 2020-2021 sports season in the U.P. be exclusively between U.P. schools, and crown U.P. championships instead of participating in the state playoffs, similar to sports like Track & Field, tennis, and golf?
Tiseo said while it would be a last resort, it is a possibility, and points to this year’s Legion Baseball model. “When you look at the American Legion baseball system, and taken a look at what they’ve been able to do to preserve some kind of summer baseball experience for those participants, I really do like that model.” He said of the model “Hey, we’re gonna shrink our map and come together the best we can.”
The next MHSAA representative meeting will take place on July 15th, and we should have more answers by then. “It’s the hope by that point Mark Uyl and his staff can put together some contingency plans, we can then take a look at those on July 15th and come to some kind of definite answer as to what the sports seasons are going to look like.”
Listen to the full interview with Alex Tiseo below.