MHSAA clarifies common COVID-19 pandemic questions

EAST LANSING — Since the Michigan High School Athletic Association canceled the 2019-20 spring sports season, it has compiled several commonly asked questions.

The MHSAA will not be throwing out the handbook during the stay-at-home orders, which are scheduled to expire on April 30. However, the executive committee and representative council may waive some regulations. Any changes will be updated on the state’s website, mhsaa.com.

Below are some of the common questions, along with the MHSAA’s response.

 

Virtual contact between coaches and student-athletes:

If local school administration permits, coaches of fall, winter and spring sports may have voluntary virtual (non-physical) communication with any number of their students so long as there is no physical contact, organizing or bringing people physically together whatsoever. Communicating individual workout plans and other incentives are within the rules just as conditioning is allowed.

“During these difficult times, virtual connections from coaches may greatly serve to reassure student-athletes as well as to encourage them to support one another. Coaches could organize Google Hangouts as a way for teammates to connect and encourage players to communicate about individual workouts they are performing to keep each other motivated. Connections also serve as a reminder of the need to continue to be a great teammate by the act of supporting and showing care for each other. Additionally, it provides student-athletes with the reminder that parents, coaches and other trusted adults wish to support them. Visit the MHSAA Health and Safety page for additional mental health resources that can be forwarded to students.

In early May, decisions will be made by the representative council regarding possible changes to out-of-season and summer coaching regulations that may change summer allowances when the all-clear is given.”

 

Out of season, during the summer: 

Provided a statewide all-clear occurs, summer activity may resume. Currently, summer rules begin on Monday, June 1, when the four-player period ends. Up to 15 dates of voluntary competition are allowed with school coaches, and any number of players during the summer in all sports but football, which allows seven, 7-on-7 events. Under current rules, summer dates of competition or practices may include participation by graduating seniors if the local school administration permits. Voluntary practices are permitted in all sports with school coaches and any number of players (seven in football). If the statewide all-clear is is-sued, this activity may occur under the rules. Neither school competition uniforms nor transportation may be used. School funds may not support summer activity, but fundraised money (e.g., booster clubs) may be used to the limit of $200 per student, per sport.

 

Non-school team participation: 

Under the governor’s orders, there will be no in-person group physical activity — practice or competition — until the ban is lifted. This is against the law and endangers lives. MHSAA regulations have always allowed for individuals to participate on non-school teams out of season, and once the ban is lifted, students may participate on non-school teams that should be operating within the law.

Because spring sports have ended, if a statewide all-clear is issued, spring sport athletes could participate on non-school teams at any time this spring/summer without concerns under the limited team membership or loyalty rule. If a fall sport non-school team expands its competition schedule into next school year, this could be a concern. In-season in team sports, the limited team membership rule activates once a student practices with the school team. For example, a high school volleyball player who practices in the fall with her school team cannot play a non-school competition in that same sport during the school season. Practice is permitted, but competitions are not during the school season.

 

Coaching requirements for spring sports 2020: 

All spring 2020 coaching requirements (rules meetings for head coaches and assistant coaches, CPR and CAP requirements) are suspended for this spring. Next school year in 2020-21, coaches will need to fulfill all requirements as in years past. The need to attest for CPR and sub-varsity/assistant coaches is not necessary for the spring 2020 season. Spring sports officials’ ratings will not be collected this spring.

 

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