MHSAA says U.P. district that tried to release football players from quarantine forfeits game
The Michigan High School Athletic Association has forced an Upper Peninsula varsity football team to forfeit tonight's game.
That's after Pickford Public Schools held an emergency meeting Thursday evening to release players from quarantine, so they could play in the Friday night game that was scheduled against Indian Lakes Schools.
Pickford Public Schools is in Chippewa County, which is experiencing a big outbreak of COVID-19.
The Pickford Panthers were State Champions last year in the 8 player 2nd division. This year they were in Division one.
The forfeit means the Panthers will not move on to the next game in the playoffs, and their varsity football season is over.
Indian Lakes Superintendent Brad Jacobs says the decision by the MHSAA is a relief. He says it's not the way they would prefer to move on in the playoffs, but player safety has to come first.
Bay Mills Indian Community Chairman Bryan Newland tweeted earlier in the day:
I'm loathe to do this, but a local school in my area held an emergency school board mtg to allow kids who should be in quarantine (per local health dept) to play in playoff football game. @MHSAA needs to do something. This is reckless.— Bryan Newland (@RealBNewland) November 13, 2020
(There's more) pic.twitter.com/0tqoxIb1gM
Newland said the district wanted to defend its football title in the playoffs, no matter the cost to public health.
Our tribal health center scrambled to set up testing for the Pickford football team the next morning.— Bryan Newland (@RealBNewland) November 13, 2020
Nobody showed up.
We found out over the weekend that coaches in the program were encouraging players to NOT get tested. If there were no testing, there would be no cases.
A call and email to Pickford Public Schools was not returned.
A MHSAA spokesman said Pickford Public Schools was trying to do the right thing and find enough healthy players for the game, but the county public health department has the final call.