When it comes to allowing high school football this fall, the reverse play is growing in popularity across the United States.
Last week, Michigan went from moving football to the spring to allowing games to resume this fall. On Tuesday, Colorado’s governor signaled he’s considering the same.
The about-face drew local attention. But no action.
“There’s been much conversation from Michigan’s governor’s decision,” Bob Madison, the associate director overseeing football for the Minnesota State High School League, wrote in an e-mail. “While it’s created dialogue, it has not been centered around Minnesota doing the same.”
The MSHSL moved football and volleyball to the spring of 2021 because of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk of spreading the virus. The decision went against the wishes of coaches.
In late July, a Minnesota Football Coaches Association survey found almost 70 percent of coaches in favor of playing football as scheduled this fall versus moving football to next spring. In addition, more than 80 percent believed that they and their school administrations were prepared to implement safety measures as recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health throughout the season. A total of 314 head coaches responded to the survey.
Football is a major revenue source for most school districts. It’s also among the “higher risk” sports as identified in National Federation of State High School Associations guidelines. Back on Aug. 4, when the MSHSL announced moving football to the spring, Minnesota was among 10 states that had moved football to a different season, according the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The number of states is now 18, but Michigan is no longer among them. See the graphic below:
Earlier this week, the mlive.com website reported, “The MHSAA originally decided to postpone the high school football season until the spring of 2021 due to the restrictions in place by Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 160, which in part including strict social distancing guidelines that would make contact in sports impossible.”
The public revolted, holding a “Let Them Play” rally on Aug. 28 at the state capitol building. In addition, the MHSAA put a plan in place to restore high school football for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approval.
Whitmer agreed, and according to the mlive.com report, she “urged school districts and athletic associations to “do everything in their power to protect players, coaches, and staff. That means carefully following the guidelines released today by DHHS.”
Colorado is on the verge of switching course as well. Earlier this week, the Denver Post reported, “Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday that the state is giving the green light to reconsider moving high school football back to its traditional season,” and added, “Grassroots momentum to have the football season restored this fall has been fueled by local coaches on Twitter, and a Change.org petition to “Let Them Play” had more than 13,700 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.”
Football timing is getting another look at the collegiate level, too. Star Tribune reporter Megan Ryan wrote today, "The Big Ten is reportedly considering several plans for a makeup season, anywhere from Oct. 10 to Thanksgiving to early January at indoor facilities."
All of this football talk has spurred emotional responses. Locally, one of the more scathing coach reactions came from Anoka’s Bo Wasurick. On Aug. 29 he tweeted, “It is amazing, depressing, exciting, and frustrating watching all these high school football teams kickoff this weekend. Fans in the stands (with masks on), the band playing, cheerleaders cheering, and most of all the boys together playing for their communities. @MSHSL FAILED!"