Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer held a coronavirus briefing on Tuesday afternoon, and reports from the event indicated Whitmer would prefer the 2020 football season to be pushed to the spring of 2021.
While Whitmer does not have the power to unilaterally flip-flop seasons, hers is not a voice the Michigan High School Athletic Association can shuck off easily.
Should the MHSAA decide to go through with a fall season, it would have to explain -- to state political and health officials, to the Michigan media, to concerned parents -- why it's doing so against the advice of the state's highest-ranking official.
“Spectators are allowed to take part, provided that facial coverings are used, and they observe 6 feet of social distancing at all times," Whitmer said, via the Detroit News. "The Michigan High School Athletic Association and the National Federal of State High School Associations are continuing to develop guidance for how sports can be played safely, and so we’re calling on schools to follow those guidelines.
“I’m also calling on the Michigan High School Athletic Association to consider postponing fall sports that have the impossibility of social distancing that’s a part of them; consider moving those to the spring and running some of the more individualized sports like track and field or tennis or golf to the fall. I anticipate a decision coming from them somewhere around July 20 to 25. That’s what they’ve indicated.”
And, as we've seen elsewhere, proclamations like Whitmer's don't happen in a vacuum. Michigan's governor coming out against a fall high school football season could lead to similar pronouncements from the governors of Ohio, of Indiana, of Illinois. Down go the dominoes from there.
Whitmer's announcement on Tuesday was not the beginning of the end of the high school football season for the fall of 2020, but it was the exact type of announcement that could lead to a chain reaction of announcements that ends with the high school football season pushed back to 2021.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.