Exclusive: MHSAA Executive Director, Mark Uyl

Ishpeming, Michigan –  David Cesefske and Connor Sturgill spoke with MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl, in regards to the recent extension of  the winter sports pause in Michigan. Uyl also touched on a variety of topics including the let us play movement, communication with the health department, as well as a message to athletes, parent, and coaches.


In regards to communications with the health department:

“Communication has been a challenge, especially given the fact that we really take a lot of pride being transparent. Be willing to have a conversation with anybody at anytime. I return every email; I take every phone call that comes in. These decisions are impacting thousands of kids and families across the state. We would to be a partner at the table; I can say the communication the last three days with the new director [MDHHS] has been better than it has been it the previous three months. So we are going to take that as hopefully a positive step in the right direction.”


Groups who are petitioning for the season to start:

“We’ve had groups of super intendents that have banded together and tried to give their voice to this. All of our coaches associations, the “Let Them Play” group that started off as a parent Facebook and we have really been able to drive the narrative this week. All anyone wants is data, give us the data on why we are not playing now, and tell us what the data needs to be for us to play moving forward.”

What student-athletes are going through:

“A lot of times athletics teach you a lot of life lessons. I think what all of our athletes right now are learning is perseverance. There are some really tough days and it’s about not giving up hope and we are going to hope we are going to some very good news for everyone very soon.”

Governor Whitemer not acknowledging high school sports in the State of the State address:

“I don’t there is a better issue in the world for all our political leaders, regardless of politics in our state where you can come together and that is giving kids a chance to play. It’s giving kids one thread of normalcy  in a year that has been the most abnormal in the last 100 years.”

When asked about the athletes social media posts asking to play:

“We’re really doubling down on those efforts right now for winter, because those kids deserve that. After last spring, after that experience I said we will move heaven and earth to have three seasons this year. Every single senior gets to participate, gets to finish their career on the field, on the court, in the pool…whatever the case may be. When you see those social media posts from kids, frankly that is what keeps us going each and every single day.”

Why continue to fight for the seasons?:

“The most satisfying thing for me, in a year that has been miserable, it was seeing the looks of kids faces the last two weekends. At football, volleyball and swimming and diving finals it was kids that had the closure they deserved; it was kids that go to the chance to get the finish line.”