Mid-Michigan parents weigh in on fall high school sports plan

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 10:58 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - Friday the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced plans to play sports as scheduled this fall, and parents’ reactions are a mixed bag.

Whether the sport is volleyball or cross country 15-year-old Bre Greene is ready to compete again.

“I’m not really nervous or scared of COVID. I just know I got to be safe,” Bre Greene said.

Her dad, Bry Greene, wants that as well.

“I think it’s good as long as they take the proper safety precautions, keep everybody safe,” Greene said.

He supports the MHSAA starting fall sports as planned with contingencies in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MHSAA says football practice will start August 10 and all other fall sports on August 12. Parents say different sports present different challenges.

“Football is more contact. Basketball is more contact. Track & field...the only time you see contact is when you do the relays,” Greene said.

“I don’t know how they would be able to practice it as well though with a contact sport of keeping 6ix feet away,” Patricia Sims said. “But I believe from a spiritual aspect...if it’s something great you’re going to do in this life you gonna do it.”

Several parents weighed in on ABC12′s Facebook page as well.

One person said her son plays winter and spring sports and is aware he may not get the chance to do that this year.

Another person said his son has been practicing football for over a month and is excited to play.

Greene, who is also the coach of a traveling club track team, says their indoor season would begin in October.

This is the second year in a row his team’s hopes have been dashed. Last year they were unable to compete in the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Sacramento for financial reasons.

“This is the second time I had to tell kids we can’t go somewhere, and that’s a hurtful feeling,” Greene said.

MHSAA says if COVID-19 prevents them from starting fall sports as scheduled, the next option would be to play lower-risk fall sports and postpone higher risk sports. If they have to stop play all together, then fall sports will be rescheduled. A reconfigured calendar would have Winter sports beginning in November followed by the conclusion of fall and spring seasons that could potentially extend into July of next year.

“I’m waiting to see -- coming next month -- how the protocol is going to go and take it from there,” Greene said.

Meanwhile, MHSAA is developing COVID-19 related policies for fall sports and will make them available before the start of the season.

We asked if the school districts have to participate in the plans presented by its council Friday, and a communications representative for the organization said schools or specific teams can opt out of tournaments or full seasons.

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