WEST MICHIGAN — Last week, Governor Whitmer announced that fall high school sports would be allowed to pick back up, including football.
Ahead of next weeks kick-off, the Michigan High School Athletics Association is clarifying how many people can be in the stands during events.
The Governor's Executive Orders call for limited attendance for all fall sports.
MHSAA Executive Director, Mark Uyl said they have a plan to comply with those Executive Orders and keep everyone safe.
Uyl said, “In the EO, for both indoor and outdoor events in Phase 4, take your number of participants times two and that's the number of spectators."
So what do those numbers look like larger teams like football?
“For example, if you have 10 coaches and 70 athletes, there's 80. So now, 80×2 that's only 160. Now if you want to throw in let's say 15 cheerleaders, that would then add another 30 spectators for that. So even in a stadium of 1,000 people plus, you're only talking about hundred," Uyl said.
The MHSAA considers “participants’ as players, cheerleaders, coaching staff, and officials.
For sports with smaller teams, like soccer or volleyball, the spectator number is capped at 100 people.Fans will also need to be aware of some new rules if they plan on attending any sporting event.
Uyl said, “I think two absolutes are going to be social distancing and the wearing of a mask at least to start off."
Rockford High School’s Athletic Director, Cole Andrews said that managing the crowds will undoubtably be challenging.
He said, “We went from 0 to 100 with one decision, so I would be lying if I said we weren't feeling a little overwhelmed right now."
Andrews said that they're still working on ticketing system to make sure only two people per participant are getting into games.
“The easiest way to combat that would be having a list. I would need to come in and say ‘Joey Smith’s two guests,’ cross them off, and then they don't get anyone else. That's probably how we're gonna do football games at Rockford,"
Andrews said.He added that like many athletic directors, they're literally making 'game-day' decisions as they countdown to kickoff.
Andrews said, “We are not going to risk someone's health just to play a game. We're going to make sure we do what's right."
He's just hoping people understand the hard choices they have to make to keep everyone safe.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we'd be talking about all these things that were talking about today, so I hope people show patience."
Currently, marching band members will not be allowed on the field for football games.
Uyl said that that may change as we get new guidance from the Governor’s Office.
Games in Michigan kick off Thursday, September 17th.