Football in spring in the U.P.?

When the Michigan High School Athletic Association made its recent decision to scrap the high school football season, it was met with opposition from several quarters.

A number of parents of players have opposed it and are even threatening lawsuits to have it changed.

I don’t quite go that far, but I do question the idea of switching the grid season to the spring.

Now, spring football might be fine downstate. After all, any snow they might receive below the Mackinac Bridge will likely be long gone by early April. And the weather can be downright balmy at that time of the year.

But in the Upper Peninsula, our winters are not so forgiving.

I can recall more than a few Aprils — and Mays — when there was still a considerable amount of snow on the ground.

Just a few years ago, we had about two feet of the white stuff left in mid-May — enough to keep local golf courses closed.

I know by long experience that football can be a sport that is played in inclement weather, particularly in late October and early November.

And I am also aware that many of the fields now in use up here have artificial surfaces.

Michigan Tech has a field that could be available, although Houghton and Calumet High now have their own new fields. Hancock has used Finlandia University’s McAfee Field for several years.

And Northern Michigan University has hinted that the Superior Dome is another option for schools.

But somehow I just can’t get used to the idea of watching football in the spring. Chalk it up to 70 plus years of watching the sport in the fall — it’s something that is ingrained in me.

Personally, I think the MHSAA should also have shifted prep softball and baseball to the fall, which wouldn’t be so far from their usual seasons.

One other big factor for the MHSAA to consider is that many (32 as of Aug. 17) states have opted to play football this fall, including Ohio and Wisconsin.

If those two states pull it off without severe consequences, there could be a big backlash in Michigan.

And that would be political as much as anything ….


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