Adrian – With today’s announcement from Lansing, the MHSAA and its winter sports have been dealt with another delay. At least partially. Contact sports such as basketball, hockey, wrestling, and competitive cheer will be allowed to go forward with non-contact workouts/practices beginning on January 16th. Those sports, at this time, will not be allowed to have competitions until February 1st. Non-contact sports such as swim and dive, gymnastics, and bowling may also begin workouts on the 16th, but can begin competitions as early as the 22nd, depending on the sport. So for some winter sports, the light at the end of the tunnel will be closer than others.
Today’s announcement also caused the MHSAA to draw quite a bit of online criticism from the public. As a former high school AD, I had the opportunity to work closely with the staff of the MHSAA on multiple occasions. From personal experience, there is no bigger group of people who care for SCHOOL-BASED SPORTS AND PARTICIPANTS than the people who work daily in that office. Before you heap criticism on them, it may be important to understand the role of the MHSAA. Many online critics want them to advocate for kids and their sports. I believe no one has advocated harder than Mark Uyl and his staff. Many online critics seem to want the MHSAA to just go ahead and run their seasons. My question is – where would those seasons occur? In schools? That would require the agreement of every school board and superintendent across the state. Do you really think that is going to happen? After all, the MHSAA doesn’t control the gym, pool, or other school athletic facilities. And they certainly don’t control private bowling alleys or gymnastic centers. Those are controlled by school boards and administrations, and by private business owners.
My question to those who blame the MHSAA is simply this – have you spent as much time attending school board meetings, or contacting administration, to voice your concerns or encouraging them to stand up to the governor, or the MDHHS? If not, that might be a better place to start than the MHSAA. Because quite frankly, if they could wave their magic wand and have kids playing, they would have already done it!
By John Roberts