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MHSAA's Uyl: Schools to decide if they'll continue spring sports for next two weeks

East Lansing – Michigan High School Athletic Association Executive Director Mark Uyl said Saturday that member schools will make their own decisions on the continuation of spring sports games and practices over the next two weeks.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday suggested that high school and youth sports take a two-week break in an effort to mitigate a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

In an interview during the boys state basketball finals at Breslin Center, Uyl said schools will determine their immediate course. The spring sports calendar includes baseball, softball, golf, tennis, lacrosse, girls soccer and track and field.

“With the guidance yesterday (from the governor) we’re going to let our school districts make those decisions about what their plans look like for the next two weeks,” Uyl said. “Everybody is in a little bit different situation in terms of how COVID is impacting their school community.

“We have some schools who will be virtual next week. I’ve also heard from some superintendents yesterday that they are committed, they have been in-person as much as they could during the school year. And that’s how they are going to continue. And that’s where sports will be.

“We are requiring a (COVID-19) test once a week. (All events) are outdoors after 7:30 tonight. Our spring sports schedule is by far our lowest risk rate in terms of contact sports.”

Vic Michaels, the director of the Catholic High School League, said Friday it plans to proceed with spring competition.   

Uyl provided a brief update on testing results of Michigan high school athletes to this point.

“Going back to the pilot program through wrestling, and even after a week of spring, we’re between one to three percent positive based on the sport," Uyl said. "So we’re just going to keep following the numbers.”

With the winter sports season complete after Saturday's basketball finals, Uyl reflected on the resiliency of athletic programs during the unique circumstances of coping with the pandemic.

He said he was pleased to see the fall and winter seasons finish. Last March, the pandemic halted winter sports, cancelling games and championships.

Uyl credited the efforts of the MHSAA staff for helping keep high school sports going. The basketball finals were an example of their work.

"We feel great about getting this in," Uyl said. "The goal since August has been three seasons that all reach the finish line. The biggest challenge was that we were in winter, and we knew that for a long time with everything being (played) indoors.

“(There were) challenges with masks and all those things. But I think what you’ve seen first-hand is the work that’s gone in to spacing people around the facility and just doing everything we can to allow kids to play and do it safely and trying to reduce as much risk as we can.”