State stops winter sports tournaments indefinitely

NILES — After initially stating it would allow parents, legal guardians and essential administrators to attend winter sports tournaments through Saturday, the Michigan High School Athletic Association has decided to suspend those tournaments indefinitely.

Thursday morning tournament sites and participating teams began the process of getting tickets to those who qualified to see boys district championship games at Bridgman and Edwardsburg.

By 3 p.m. Thursday, the MHSAA announced that it would not continue with the tournaments.

“Based on the events of the last 48 hours and with things changing by the minute, we believe we have no choice but to suspend our winter tournaments immediately,” said MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl. “This is a suspension until we have a better handle on the situation. The health and welfare of everyone involved is our number one priority.”

Dowagiac and Buchanan were set to face off for the Division 2 district championship at Edwardsburg High School tonight. The Bucks have not won a district title since 2005.

Brandywine and Cassopolis, long-time rivals and former BCS Athletic Conference foes, were set to play for the Division 3 district title at Bridgman.

The MHSAA began considering how to move forward with its postseason following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recommendation that no more than 100 people be allowed to gather in one place on Wednesday morning.

Colleges and universities began canceling face-to-face classes, opting for online classwork instead.

College and professional sports leagues started to follow suit by either not allowing fans to attend the games or canceling them altogether. The National Basketball Association suspended its season indefinitely Wednesday night after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.

Notre Dame announced Thursday afternoon that it was canceling its annual Blue & Gold Game. Both Michigan and Ohio State on Wednesday announced they had canceled its spring football games.

Uly said that more updated information would be coming over the next few days. He added that there is no timetable in place for possibly rescheduling the tournaments.

Also, on Thursday, the MHSAA announced that decisions about spring sports practices and contests would be made currently at the local level by individual schools.

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