School districts have final say on cancellation of spring sports contests

By: Christian Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published March 19, 2014

The Michigan High School Athletic Association is locked into the dates it set last year for the 2014 playoffs in all seven spring sports, according to MHSAA Communications Director John Johnson.

Weather shouldn’t be an issue come the postseason, which begins in May for baseball, softball, boys golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, girls tennis, and track and field.

Weather will be an issue during the opening portions of the spring season. Johnson said it’s up to school administrators to make the call on playing or canceling regular-season contests.

“This has been an unusual winter,” Johnson said, “but think back to two years ago when it was 80 degrees in March. That was unusual, too. We leave it up to the administrators to make the call because what some people might call unusual weather in one part of the state could be the norm for another section.”

Practice for the spring sports began March 10. Opening contests in girls tennis and boys golf were slated to take place March 17. Opening contests in baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, and track and field are set for March 19.

Warren Cousino Athletic Director Aaron Setlak said soccer teams with field turf will have a great advantage over teams that play on grass fields. He said major problems with scheduling could come if the fields are still in bad shape after spring break, which for most schools is in early April.

“If we’re still looking at a thaw or the fields are just soaked in water, then we’ll run into some issues in terms of getting a full season in,” said Setlak, now in his 11th year at Cousino.

Johnson said district athletic departments are used to canceling and rescheduling early spring season games — much more so than during the fall and winter seasons. With lacrosse and soccer, teams can play no more than three games a week, Johnson said. Baseball and softball teams are limited to their respective 38-game seasons, Setlak said, but doubleheaders can be played on Friday nights or Saturdays if the need arises.

“So there will be some reshuffling going on,” Johnson said. “And we’ll likely see some practices in a lot of gyms and even some parking lots because who knows when the fields will be in playing shape?”