Fall Sports Updates for MHSAA, IHSA

July 31, 2020 / Athletic AdministrationCross countryFootballGolfSoccer
Two state high school athletic organizations have announced decisions in its efforts to restart athletic activities safely — including moving the fall sports schedule to the springtime.

On July 29, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) released its plan for the 2020-21 school year, which included moving some of its fall sports to the spring while allowing others to go on as planned with restrictions, according to a report from NBC Chicago.

Photo: Kevin Hoffman / Great American Media Services

Currently, the IHSA plans to have boys and girls golf, girls tennis, cross county, and girls swimming and diving sports continue in the fall with a start date of August 10, according to NBC Chicago. The report continued by stating that football, boys soccer, and girls volleyball will be pushed to the spring 2021 season.

Additionally, the IHSA released a condensed athletics schedule for each season with the fall season taking place from August 10 to October 24; winter sports going from November 16 to February 13; spring sports spanning from February 15 to May 1; and summer sports starting on May 3 and concluding June 26.

“This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement Wednesday. “Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first. It was important that we provide a framework today for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and officials to begin preparing for the 2020-21 school year.”

In Michigan, the state’s high school athletic association (MHSAA) also updated its current standing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said on July 29 that the traditional fall sports season is still a go, but announced there will be a one-week delay for football teams to begin practicing with full-player pads and equipment, according to a report from The Detroit News.

Football practice is slated to begin on August 10, however, those sessions will consist of conditioning, physical training, and skill work with players only wearing helmets. On August 17, teams will be able to incorporate full pads and equipment, according to The Detroit News.

“The easiest thing for us to have done today was to cancel everything in the fall, just like what some of the other states have done where you just push everything back,” Uyl said on Michigan’s The Huge Show. “That would have been the safest and easiest thing to do, from a political standpoint right now, just say ‘Let’s try it again in to in the spring.’ But, what we’re hearing from our schools as they try to get ready for face-to-face education later in August is, ‘You know what, let’s start small, let’s start safe and if we have to delay and pause and give it some more time we do have a plan in place to allow us to do so.’”

The MHSAA’s representative council said lower-risk sports — Lower Peninsula girls golf, Lower Peninsula boys tennis and Upper Peninsula girls tennis, cross country and Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving — will be allowed to begin practice August 12 and begin competition on their traditional start dates of August 19 and 21.

The MHSAA stated that moderate and high-risk sports — football, girls volleyball, and boys soccer — may begin practice, but not competition. Decisions about competition timelines for these three sports will be made by Aug. 20.

Football games are set to have an opening weekend on August 27-29.

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The council — the MHSAA’s 19-member legislative body — also voted to cancel scrimmages in all fall sports for this school year and approved limitations on numbers of teams that may compete together at regular-season tournaments, invitationals, and other multi-team events.

To read the full story from NBC Chicago on the IHSA’s decision to move some fall sports to the spring, click here. To read the full story from The Detroit News on updates from the MHSAA, click here