With Michigan High School Sports approaching a month into the winter season, Colin Jankowski breaks down how Meridian Township Schools are tackling the return to sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Update: Jankowski learned after the filing of this story that the boys’ basketball team at Okemos High School has an outbreak of COVID-19. Critics of the return to sports in Michigan voiced concerns that social distancing procedures wouldn’t be followed, whereas supporters felt athletes and spectators could handle it. “I think we’ve done just about as good of a job as you can,” Okemos High School Athletic Director Brian Fuller said about Okemos’ handling of COVID-19 safety protocols. Monday marked three weeks since the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the state of Michigan gave the all-clear to resume high school sports in Michigan while the state continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Associated Press sports writer Larry Lage couldn’t stop thinking about freelancers who needed help financially because of layoffs affecting the sports media due to the cancellation of sports during COVID-19. “I went to bed and was thinking about sports journalists who were paid by assignment,” Lage said. “I thought of them the next morning and I literally started to tear up, and I thought, to myself, you know what I’m going to try to do something.”
After COVID-19 began spreading in the U.S., Lage said many freelancers went without payments because they are paid by assignment and there were no assignments due to many sports leagues cancelling. The NBA announced on March 11 that they would suspend the rest of the season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. Then, the NCAA cancelled the March Madness tournament on March 12, and the NHL and MLS suspended their seasons on March 12 as well.
Lake Orion High School senior Lilly Snyder had waited until her senior year to start on the varsity softball team. She was called up as a freshman and sat back watching the upperclassmen take the field, and she did the same thing her sophomore year, and the same thing for her junior year. This was going to be her year until life threw a nasty curveball her way. Many high school athletes, including Lilly, were holding out hope that the Michigan High School Athletic Association wouldn’t cancel spring sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A few weeks after postponing all winter sports tournaments, it seemed inevitable that both winter and spring sports would be canceled and the MHSAA made it official on April 3.
It was a busy week full of Spartan athletics. We have highlights from mens soccer against the reigning national champions Maryland Terrapins. Plus, women’s field hockey hosted the Ohio Bobcats in a game that went down to the final seconds. That and more on this weeks episode!
It’s sad how Michigan State knew about the sexual misconduct of Larry Nassar but didn’t do anything, said David Mittleman, attorney who represents 37 victims of Larry Nassar. Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison, three counts of 20 years each, for child pornography. He has seven counts against him and is waiting for trail to hear his sentencing for the other counts that he has not been charged for. Nassar sexually assaulted and abused members of the Michigan State University gymnastics team and members of the USA Olympic gymnastics team. “This is the biggest institutional sexual assault scandal in modern day history,” said Mittleman.
When it comes to athletes, a lot goes into how they keep their performances levels high. One of those ways is through their nutrition. I spoke with Kate Davis, a registered dietician in Lansing, Michigan, on just how important it is to keep those things in mind for an athlete, as well as anyone trying to stay healthy. Davis graduated from Michigan State University with a master of science degree in human nutrition, with an emphasis in exercise physiology. She is a member of the United States Olympic Committee Sports Dietician Registry and has consulted teams such as the USA women’s hockey team, Grand Valley State University Athletics, and the Gatorade GFEAT Employee Wellness Program.