Detroit Public School Community District wants to play fall sports, including football. And it is asking the Michigan High School Athletic Association to step up and make that decision.
Dr. Nikolai Vitti, the DPSCD superintendent, wrote a letter dated on Friday to MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl, imploring him to allow state high schools to play football this fall.
Uyl maintains the MHSAA is not in control of that decision, not the decision to play other fall sports, including volleyball, girls swimming and diving and boys soccer. Uyl told longtime Free Press columnist Mick McCabe on Thursday that he wants to state to give better direction on what the MHSAA can permit.
The MHSAA cites Executive Order 160, issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on July 31, in which calls for social distancing outdoors and prohibits indoor practices, among other restrictions, throughout most of the state.
On Aug. 14, the MHSAA announced it was moving football to the spring. Since then, it has waited for clarity on whether other fall sports could continue.
However, Vitti wrote that the governor stated that playing sports was up to the MHSAA.
Vitti, who runs the state’s largest school district, wonders: “Why are you blaming or asking the Governor to make decisions that she has given the MHSAA to make?”
He believes the decision to not play football have been backed by politics and “that the MHSAA abdicated its responsibility to make athletic decisions and instead deferred to the Governor in closed door conversations instead of supporting student-athletes, coaches and their families.”
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“There is reason to believe that the Governor would rather have football, and perhaps other fall sports, played in the spring,” Vitti wrote. “This was clear from the Return to Learn guidance issued to school districts and public statements made on the issue in the spring. However, the Governor never publicly stated that she would prevent any sports from being played if the MHSAA moved in another direction.”
Vitti’s letter, which is supported by 13 Detroit high school football coaches, requests the MHSAA to pass a resolution to play in the fall and give the state two days to issue an executive order moving football to the spring.
He also asks the what conditions will be necessary for football to be played in the spring, and also carbon copied Whitmer and asks her the same question.
On Friday, a group of Michigan high school athletes’ parents are scheduled to rally at the state capitol to demand answers.