EAST LANSING – The concluding rounds of Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) postseason tournaments in football, girls volleyball and girls swimming and diving will be completed during January, as the MHSAA continues to follow all emergency orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
Football teams were scheduled to begin two days of outdoor, non-contact conditioning and drills, wearing helmets and shoulder pads with physical distancing, on Monday, Dec. 28, in advance of the first round of testing Dec. 30 as part of an MDHHS rapid testing pilot program. Schools will test players, coaches and other team personnel, with full-contact practice then allowed after a first round of negative results. The testing program will utilize BinaxNOW antigen tests that produce results within 15 minutes.
For football, 11-player regional finals and 8-player semifinals will be played Saturday, Jan. 9. The 8-player finals and 11-player semifinals will be played Saturday, Jan. 16; and 11-player finals will be played during the weekend of Jan. 22-23.
The MDHHS’s current epidemic order – which paused activity beginning Nov. 18 – is set to expire Jan. 15, and if restrictions on non-contact sports are lifted then volleyball and swimming and diving could practice and compete at that time outside of the required rapid testing program. If the MDHHS epidemic order continues, volleyball and swimming and diving could begin practice, but those teams and individuals will have to follow all requirements of the MDHHS rapid testing pilot program to be eligible to participate. Specific plans and dates for volleyball and girls swimming and diving practice resumption and MHSAA tournaments will be finalized and shared with competing schools in early January.
Volleyball competition will restart with quarterfinals, and Lower Peninsula girls swimming and diving has advanced to its finals. The championship events in both sports would be completed no later than Jan. 30.
The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association last week approved an adjusted regular-season calendar for indoor winter sports, which under current MDHHS orders may restart their seasons Saturday, Jan. 16.
All winter sports activity had been paused by MDHHS on Nov. 18 to decrease spread of COVID-19. Girls and boys alpine skiing, with all activity taking place outdoors, was allowed by MDHHS to resume its season Monday, Dec. 21 and remains underway. If the MDHHS pause ends, indoor practices may begin again Jan. 16, with first competitions Jan. 22 for basketball, bowling, ice hockey and swimming and diving; and Jan. 25 for competitive cheer, gymnastics and wrestling.
The council also approved one-year changes to competition limits in ice hockey and wrestling. In hockey, teams may play two games on one non-school day on two dates this season – with four games total during those two weeks when this opportunity is utilized. Wrestling teams are allowed two dates of competition per week this season, with competition limited to four teams at a site (and three matches per student per day of competition).
The council also approved changes to the winter tournament schedule pushing championships in most sports back to allow for regular seasons to be extended due to the late start. Following are the updated dates:
• Boys and Girls Basketball
Girls Districts - March 8, 10 and 12; Boys Districts - March 9, 11 and 13
Girls Regionals - March 16 and 18; Boys Regionals - March 17 and 19
Girls QF, Semifinals and Finals - March 22 (QF), March 24 (Semifinals - 2 Sites) and March 26 (Finals)
Boys QF, Semifinals and Finals - March 23 (QF), March 25 (Semifinals - 2 Sites) and March 27 (Finals)
Regionals - March 19-20
Finals - March 26-27
• Competitive Cheer
Districts - March 5-6
Regionals - March 13
Finals - March 19-20
Regionals - March 20
Finals - March 26-27
• Ice Hockey
Regionals - March 15-20
Finals - March 25-27
• Girls and Boys Swimming and Diving
Upper Peninsula Girls and Boys Swim and Dive Finals - Feb. 27
Lower Peninsula Boys Dive Regionals - March 18
Lower Peninsula Boys Finals - March 26-27
District Week - March 1
Regional Week - March 8
Team Finals - March 19-20
Individual Finals - March 26-27
Currently, the start dates of spring sports are not affected. If current orders further delay activity beyond Jan. 16, the MHSAA staff and Representative Council will devise updated plans that address both winter and spring sports. If current orders are amended to allow activity to begin earlier, the first days of practice and competition will be moved up accordingly.
“The council has been working to give schools as much local flexibility as possible while putting together their winter seasons schedules,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “This flexible planning has been required of us all since June, and we will continue to advocate for kids in all seasons with our continued goal of three seasons played to completion.”
The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the superintendent of public instruction or designee.