Football players hope to be active very soon

Baldwin football coach Bob Watkins hopes to start football workouts soon. (Star file photo)

Baldwin football coach Bob Watkins hopes to start football workouts soon. (Star file photo)

BALDWIN - Baldwin's Robert Watkins is like other football coaches who continues to wait to see the MHSAA guidelines for returning back to sports.

It appears athletic director Rick Heitmeyer will be working with coaches to go over these guidelines as the summer progresses and teams get ready to open practices in August, providing the MHSAA gives the greenlight.

Watkins pointed to the statement in the MHSAA guidelines which say the return-to-activity recommendations may be implemented locally by school district leadership, provided the district declares its facilities open to students and staff and the 2019-20 school year has ended for that district (based on its last originally-scheduled school day).

The guidelines details indepth social distancing guidelines as they apply to each sport.

In step 1, which is the conduct of conditioning and practice sessions, a stipulation which applies to football states: "A football player should not participate in team drills with a single ball that will be handed off or passed to other teammates. Contact with other players is not allowed, and there should be no sharing of tackling dummies/donuts/sleds."

Football is one of the sports listed as a "higher risk" activity, meaning more demands would be placed on following various guidelines to insure safety. The MHSAA specifically defines higher risk as: Sports that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants.

Last week, the MHSAA update its guidelines after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted her stay at home order.

"We were excited and encouraged by Governor Whitmer's announcements," MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said last week. "The opportunity for outside gatherings of up to 100 allowed us to rework a number of guidelines that we had published (previously) as part of the MHSAA/NFHS reopening document. Our schools have been cautiously eager to take this long-awaited first step. We will continue to provide updates in accordance with the Governor's directives for reopening the state, always prioritizing safety for all involved in school sports programs."