That’s what Michigan high school sports fans and the Michigan High School Athletic Association get from the Whitmer administration regarding COVID-19 policies impacting sports’ ability to play statewide.
It’s not a good look, and frankly, it’s confusing.
Not providing the details as to why winter sports like basketball, wrestling and hockey can’t proceed is baffling. They were going to be allowed a couple weeks ago and COVID numbers are better now than at that point.
Cases, down. Hospital bed usage, down. Death rate, trending lower.
So why no sports?
Letting football play (and even indoors this weekend), as well as volleyball, just makes the appearance worse.
Gov. Whitmer, you’re playing right into the hands of the people who say you’re doing this for purely political reasons. Show the data. Provide reasons.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ pilot testing program for football, volleyball and swimmers left in the fall postseason came back with a 99.8% negative rate. Only 57 positive case were identified, and 95% of scheduled football games were played, according to the MHSAA. It’s been demonstrated it can be done.
The MHSAA showed its homework.
Now it’s time for the state to reveal its hand.
Tell us, what the difference is between a football game inside with 250 spectators and a basketball game inside with a similar number (or less)?
“Even with mitigation measures in place, such as wearing of masks, disease transmission cannot be completely prevented when players are in prolonged or intense contact,” MDHHS spokesman Lynn Sutfin said in response to a Record-Eagle inquiry. “... These risks are even greater for indoor contact sports where there is not natural ventilation to mitigate the close proximity of participants.
“The data from the pilot is still being compiled and analyzed,” Sutfin continued. “We are prioritizing our testing supplies to prevent outbreaks in congregate settings. We are also starting a new program to support school reopening plans by providing testing resources for teachers.”
That’s all well and good, but show us the data.
At this rate, the downhill skiing state finals will be the same day basketball could theoretically start up again.
Hockey is even more of a head-scratcher. Contact in hockey is fleeting and brief at the speeds these kids play. Full cages can be worn on helmets, or for those who prefer wire cages, there’s the same type of spit guards that allowed football players to fit each other for 48 minutes over the last five months.
Now, the other thing at play here is the militant outrage on social media by those who agree with me. It’s over-the-top. Keep a level head and try not to sound like those who participated in the Capitol mess two weeks ago. Complaining that the MHSAA of Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan aren’t doing enough is ignoring how much they’ve been shut out of the process.
The ball is in your court, Gov. Whitmer. Don’t keep whiffing.