Winter contact sports face another obstacle

Published 2:15 pm Friday, January 22, 2021

NILES – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the governor’s office, dealt another blow to the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s attempt to restart the winter sports season.

During Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s press conference Friday morning, it was announced that contact sports, with the exception of professional sports, would continue to be put on hold to at least Feb. 21. Contact sports were scheduled to begin on Feb. 1.

“We found out about this decision at 9:30 a.m. like everyone else, and we will address it as quickly as possible after taking the weekend to collect more information,” said MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “We did not anticipate this delay in winter contact practices and competition, and today’s announcement has created many new questions. Obviously, this is disappointing to thousands of athletes who have been training with their teams over the last week and watching teams in other states around Michigan play for the last two months.”

While boys and girls basketball, bowling, along with swimming and diving, will continue to have non-contact practices while they wait to see when the state will allow competition to begin.

The MHSAA is concluding its fall sports season this weekend at Ford Field in Detroit with the 11-player football championship games.

While the governor announced that sports venues with more than 10,000 seats could now seat up to 500 spectators, the MHSAA has no plans to sell additional tickets for the remaining state finals games.