‘Like a yo-yo’: frustration mounts after miscommunication on covid tests that interrupts Michigan football preparation again
The roller coaster of the 2020 Michigan high school football season hit a new low on Tuesday, leading some to wonder what happened and how many more children can handle it.
Just a day after the teams returned to the training ground to prepare for the January 2 playoff games, the Michigan High School Athletic Association has turned the tide once again and put the sport on hiatus after poor communication between the state and the MHSAA over a pilot program to test players for the coronavirus.
“It’s like a yo-yo,” said West Bloomfield football coach Ron Bellamy, whose team is due to host Romeo in a Division 1 regional final. bring them down, you bring them up, you bring them down. These children, they are losing hope.
A spokesperson for the MHSAA understands the dismay and frustration given the intermittent nature of things. At the same time, Geoff Kimmerly, MHSAA media and content manager, said the plan remained to complete the state tournament.
But people are asking, how did we get there? Which led to the miscommunication between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which announced a COVID-19 rapid testing program on Friday that would allow fall high school sports teams to complete their seasons, and the MHSAA, who gave football teams the light green to resume training on Monday?
“We had people who only had shells the first three days, I believe. It’s not a contact, ”Kimmerly said of the resumption of football practices statewide. “We thought we were doing what we had to do. It’s nobody’s fault in terms of miscommunication, it’s just that the details have been interpreted differently, I think. This is something that has just been clarified today.
Due to the requirements and the need for further guidance from the MDHHS which will arrive next week, the MHSAA is immediately suspending training and all related activities for football, as well as volleyball and swimming / diving, other fall sports seeking to end. their seasons. The MHSAA is working to update competition dates to better reflect the testing schedule.
Kimmerly said training might not resume until the first round of testing is complete, which could happen by the middle of next week.
“We thought we were fine having those first few days of practice in shells, probably thinking that there wouldn’t necessarily be a lot of people training on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,” Kimmerly said. . “We had initial information and today we got all the information and that’s one of the things we were told, so that’s what we’re doing.”
Kimmerly said the change in the football playoff schedule, which begins this week with regional finals on January 2, semi-finals on January 9 and finals on January 15-16, should not be affected more than about a week.
He said he understood how difficult it was for football teams who returned to training this week, only to see another hiatus, which followed a recent five-week suspension amid a surge in coronavirus cases statewide.
Kimmerly said the MHSAA will receive more details on the tests in the coming week and that the MDHHS will send out material that will be distributed to schools and posted on the MHSAA website. Kimmerly knows there will be more onus on schools to carry out the tests, especially during the holidays when schools are usually closed, but he believes they can do it. He reiterated that it will be required for teams and student-athletes who want to play.
The question is, do they still want to play at this point? As Bellamy said, “children lose hope.”
Saline coach Joe Palka hasn’t given up hope, but admitted some frustration and confusion. In his opinion, it is not only hard on the players and coaches, but also on their families.
“I think our kids through it all have been very resilient and I think we’ll continue to play the shots as best we can,” said Palka, whose team is expected to travel to Rockford in a regional final. Division 1. “It’s clear to me that there was a breakdown in communication at the next level, and the people I’m feeling right now are people who have constantly shifted their plans back and forth.
“We have probably eight to ten kids out of town that their parents send to them, and they could be on their way to join us in training right now. When do we stop going through this for the sake of having a state champion? I am upset because there has been almost no respect for our families and no respect for the feelings of our children where we can just let go of whatever we are doing at any time and constantly change direction.
Jackson Lumen Christi athletic director Jesse Brown called this an “endless stop and start loop,” which is frustrating for a lot of people.
The Titans, who are due to visit Schoolcraft in a Division 6 regional final, were able to take part in two practice sessions, but now they have to wait another week to get tested and return to the field.
“Obviously the health and safety of our children is the most important part in all of this, but I think there needs to be better communication between all parties involved so that we can move forward.” Brown said. “It’s a bit of a mess right now and the people who are suffering the most are the children.”
Stevensville Lakeshore announced Monday night that its football team will be withdrawing from the playoffs for various reasons.
Would the MHSAA reinstate the Lancers if they chose to reconsider their decision? It’s not clear at this time, but Michigan Center football coach Troy Allen is surprised that only one team has retired among the 72 remaining in the playoff field.
“I think there are a lot of kids who were already half in and half out once that break hit in November, so the more we keep pushing that off the more they’re probably going to decide to wait. the start of the winter sports season. ”said Allen, whose team is set to face Constantine in a Division 6 regional final. children’s emotions. They know we are all trying to make this work, but the process is starting to lose its credibility. “
Milan football coach Jesse Hoskins is confused as the next one but said he doesn’t feel much emotion over the latest news. It’s “a little funny at this point,” he said, just “not in a ‘ha ha’ way.”
Hoskins admits the testing is serious, but he doesn’t understand why it must be so complicated.
“The carrot is still there. The MHSAA says we’re going to wrap up and at least there are dates and if those dates change there is at least something to work towards, “Hoskins said.
“With Christmas here in a few days, I hope no one thinks about it for three or four days, and then next week we’ll find out how the tests work and when we can practice and come back to it. Hopefully after that. everyone has calmed down after their initial reaction tonight, everyone is forgetting about it and worrying about Christmas for a few days.
West Bloomfield received a Christmas present ahead of time when he learned that outstanding running back and Michigan signatory Donovan Edwards, who plans to make an early entry at UM, would be able to join the Lakers to finish the playoffs playoffs.
Now no one knows. The window seems to be closing for these types of players. Brendan Sullivan, who led Davison to the State Division 1 title last year, plans to enroll early at Northwestern. He had planned to join the Cardinals for their regional final game against Detroit Catholic Central.
What about winter sports? What impact will this have on the winter sports season, which has already been impacted two years in a row, not to mention spring sports, which were wiped out at the start of the calendar year.
“That was the right thing about the Jan. 15 shutdown date (for football), wasn’t it. This hasn’t interrupted the winter sports season (in the new plan), but now if you go past the competition dates you are now considering a final date of January 22, which then overlaps with winter sports ” Mona Shores Athletic said director Todd Conrad. “They’ve missed so much of their season that it’s hard to say then that they shouldn’t potentially have all of their athletes when they finally get the chance to start training.”
Conrad said defending Division 2 champions Mona Shores football team are committed to making the football playoffs if they are still in progress.
Bellamy called it “the longest season in MHSAA history”. How long should this continue?
“We understand: no one wants to see another obstacle,” Kimmerly said. “But keep in mind we know where the end of the race is now, even more clearly than a week ago. Just a little more, and we can make it all come together and we really point. towards that. “
The local MLive sports team contributed to this story.