Football generic

Hundreds of student athletes will soon hit the field after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced she was allowing organized sports to resume.

The MHSAA gave the green light on contact sports like soccer and football.

But the games will come with restrictions, which means Friday nights under the lights will be a bit different when football returns in two weeks.

“There will be two guests for every participant that’s in the game. That’s coaches, that’s players, that’s cheerleaders,” said John Johnson, spokesperson for the MHSAA.

Johnson said except for invited guests, the general public will not be admitted to high school football games. Besides players, coaches, and cheerleaders, those who are considered essential game personnel – like members of the media, referees, and other game staff – will be allowed in.

In most parts of Michigan, the marching band won’t be at the game.

“Band right now would only be allowed in areas that are in phase five of the MI Safe Start Plan,” Johnson said.

If you are wanting to eat while watching the game, Johnson said the concession stand will be different as well.

“It will probably have to be sealed containers, pop cans or bottles, you know, maybe you’re going to have to buy potato chip bags,” Johnson said.

He said all the athletes will have to wear masks while playing, except for swimmers.

Freeland High School Athletic Director Jeff Bell said he is looking for some clarification on that.

“That is one of the biggest confusion or non-clear points of this new executive order,” Bell said.

Bell said in some competitions up north, students have played without a mask and then put the mask on while on the bench.

Bell wonders if a mask will now have to be worn at all times.

“Does that mean our athletes have to be masked in order to play,” he asked.

At the moment, Johnson said the answer is yes.

“We’re trying to take a look at some commonsense things to accommodate folks that might be encumbered by a mask and it can be documented,” Johnson said.

Johnson and Bell are optimistic the traditional fall sports season will be completed successfully.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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