Yesterday, as I was about to take the field for just the fifth time with my team with them in helmets, word came in that the Michigan High School Athletic Association had made the decision to push football to the spring. Other fall sports will be allowed to continue right now, but football is officially off the table for fall.
Like every other coach in a state that has made the decision, it was a punch in the gut (to put it mildly), but even more so because it came after being told we were moving forward with a fall season just a few weeks ago. It also came just a few days before we were set to add shoulder pads and less than two weeks before our first game.
For months, coaches that I have talked to here in Michigan and in the states immediately surrounding The Great Lakes State, have talked about the political forces at play during all of these decisions. It's been a notion that I have tried to push to the back of my mind for quote some time, largely because I just couldn't wrap my head around it.
Earlier today, I saw a tweet from a fellow Michigan HS coach (credit given to him below in the tweet) that included a state-by-state breakdown of which states are playing football this fall, which ones are pushing it to the spring, and what political affiliation the state governor has in that state.
17 out of 18 states (including Pennsylvania, whose governor has recommended pushing all sports to January 1st and three that are awaiting approval to move forward) that have decided to move football to the spring are led by Democratic governors. The lone outlier in that group is Maryland, led by a Republican governor. Of the schools opting to keep football in the fall, 25 are led by Republican governors, and 7 Democratic governors have aligned with them on that decision.
I'll leave it at that and let you draw your own conclusions on the role that politics may have in the fall vs. spring decision.