After being blocked from competition since November, winter sports teams were finally given the go ahead to participate in full contact practices and competitions beginning next week after Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services held a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Teams had been sidelined from contact practices since December and with the announcement from Governor Whitmer, they can compete in a shortened season with strict guidelines.
State tournaments will not be pushed back so teams will be trying to squeeze in as many contests as possible in a short period of time.
Boys’ and girls’ basketball teams can begin full practice and games starting Monday, February 8. Players and coaches must wear masks at all times during contests and practices.
Teams will be able to play up to three games a week. Due to the shortened season, teams will be able to play regular season contests during the state tournament, including if they are eliminated to try to get to the 20 game maximum for the regular season. Different this year will be that both the boys and girls tournaments will both start the same week of March 22-28. They will alternate nights for district and Regional games. The state finals will be Saturday, April 9th for the girls and April 10th for the boys.
Competitive cheer will begin practice and competition Friday, February 12th with the state finals March 26-27. Cheer teams will not be required to wear masks when they are competing on the mat due because they will be with their own team during the competition. They will be required to wear masks at all other times.
Wrestling will be the one sport that is different then the others. Wrestlers will go through rapid testing the day of each competition in order to participate and can compete with a negative test. The rapid testing will be provided and paid for by the MDHHS. They will not be required to wear a mask during their match, but will have to were them at all other times.
At this time it has not been announced on the amount of spectators at the contests. The MHSAA believes and is hoping it will be like the fall sports season that just completed where each athlete was allowed two people to attend. It will be announced this weekend when the MDHHS and MHSAA meet again to finalize everything.