• Michigan

MHSAA tweaks cross country and swimming/diving tournaments to minimize number of participants, reverts girls golf to traditional field

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, October 2, 2020, 4:20 pm

While crowds of spectators are soon to be increasing, the Michigan High School Athletic Association is still trying to keep crowds of participants to a minimum.

To comply with the most recent guidance and executive orders from the governor’s office, the MHSAA announced on Friday some tweaks for the upcoming girls golf, cross country and swimming/diving postseason tournaments.

The changes were approved at Wednesday’s meeting of the MHSAA’s executive council. 

To limit field sizes for cross country finals, the MHSAA will:

• Add a pre-regional round, dividing traditional regionals into smaller groups at each site. The top four teams and top seven remaining individuals (not on a qualifying team) will move on from the 18 pre-regional tournaments to 19 regional competitions. From regionals, the top three teams and top seven remaining individuals (not on a qualifying team) will move on to the finals, which will be held over two days (Nov. 6-7) at Michigan International Speedway.

• Each division of the finals will be split into two races, with teams that qualified third and all individual qualifiers in one heat, and teams that qualified first or second in the other. This will create four girls and boys races each day, with Division 1 and 2 held on Friday, Nov. 6, and Division 3 and 4 on Saturday, Nov. 7.

• The three divisions in the Upper Peninsula will be split up to separate sites on Oct. 24, with Division 1 running at Marquette’s Presque Isle Park, D2 at Iron River’s George Young Recreational Complex and D3 at Munising’s Pictured Rocks Golf Course. 

To limit the number of participants at the swimming and diving finals — which will be held on Nov. 20-21 at three yet-to-be-determined sites — the MHSAA will:

• Split diving off to a stand-alone competition on Friday, Nov. 20. Qualifiers will perform five dives, with the top 20 advancing to the next round of three more dives. The top 16 advance to the finals for the final three dives of the competition.

• All swimming events will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21, with timed championship races in each event, rather than the normal preliminary and finals races.

• Scores from the two days will be combined to determine team finish.

With the most recent EO (No. 183) allowing for the expansion of the maximum number of people allowed in an outdoor gathering, the Lower Peninsula girls golf finals will expand back to their traditional sizes — they had been previously downsized by the executive committee to comply with the earlier limits.

• The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams will advance from regionals to the finals, which will remain one 18-hole round (to eliminate the necessity of overnight stays). The finals will be played Oct. 16-17 at the Forest Akers courses at Michigan State University. 

Earlier this week, the MHSAA announced that, with the latest EO, the size of crowds of spectators at both outdoor and indoor sporting events could be increased, as of Friday, Oct. 9.



• No more empty stadiums for MHSAA: Governor’s new EO allows increase in spectator numbers, starting Oct. 9 (Sept. 30)

• MHSAA offers guidance on Governor’s new mask Executive Order: ‘It is the MHSAA’s expectation that all members comply’ (Sept. 10)

MASK UP: Gov. Whitmer clarifies mask requirement for fall sports with EO requiring them for volleyball, soccer and football (Sept. 9)

Reversed field: MHSAA will indeed play football this fall, with shortened regular season (Sept. 3)

Gov. Whitmer allows of reopening of gyms and pools next week; MHSAA to play football despite MDHHS recommendation against contact sports (Sept. 3)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says decision on reopening gyms, indoor athletic facilities coming ‘very soon’ (Sept. 2)

Still awaiting answers from governor’s office on fate of fall sports in limbo, MHSAA admits ‘the clock is ticking’ (Aug. 26)

MHSAA adds offseason football practice dates, hopes to have spring season set-up settled by mid-September (Aug. 20)

MHSAA approves start of competition for volleyball, boys soccer, girls swimming in two regions; rest of state still awaiting clarification from governor’s office (Aug. 20)

Announcement from MHSAA on fate of volleyball, swimming and soccer postponed (Aug. 19)

• MHSAA’s Uyl explains decision to postpone football: ‘What we were getting from our schools … was really to pump the brakes’  (Aug. 17)

MHSAA pulls plug on fall football, announcing decision to move it to the spring (Aug. 14)

College cancellations won’t force MHSAA’s hand, executive director Mark Uyl says; ‘Don’t make decisions just because somebody else did’ (Aug. 12)

Lansing School District cancels fall extracurricular activities, including athletics (Aug. 7)

MHSAA Representative Council gives thumbs-up to on-time start for lower-risk fall sports, tables decision on competition for high-risk sports (July 29)

• MHSAA announces plan to begin 2020-21 school year as traditionally scheduled, leaving football (for now) in the fall (July 17)

• For now, plan is still to have fall sports in the fall, MHSAA reassures its membership (July 2)

What does the ‘MI Safe Schools’ return to school roadmap say about high school sports? Here’s a look (July 1)

Gov. Whitmer to MHSAA: Consider moving contact sports back from the fall (June 30)

• New allowance from from governor’s office doesn’t change much: Schools allowed to resume sports activities prior to end of 2019-20 school year (June 12)

• MHSAA updates guidelines, allowing northern Michigan schools to move workouts indoors starting Wednesday (June 9)

• MHSAA adjusts to curveball of early lifting of stay-at-home order, amends guidance doc for reopening sports  (June 2)

• Gov. Whitmer lifts stay-at-home order early, providing increasing clarity on ‘when’ high school sports can resume (June 1)

• MHSAA releases ‘Guidance for Opening School Sports’ document, outlining a roadmap of ‘how’ high school sports can resume in Michigan (May 29)

• Friday’s roadmap from MHSAA will give ‘how’ school athletics will return, but maybe not ‘when’: ‘We still can’t rush this’ (May 28)

• MHSAA gives schools heads up that ‘Guidance for Opening School Sports’ is coming next week (May 22)

• Q&A with MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl, after Friday’s decision to cancel remaining 2019-20 sports seasons (April 3)

• MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl explains agonizing decision to cancel remainder of winter and spring seasons; ‘My heart absolutely breaks for kids in the class of 2020’ (April 3)

• MHSAA officially cancels spring and winter sports, putting an end to the 2019-20 athletic year (April 3)

• Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces closure of Michigan schools for remainder of 2019-20, stipulates K-12 sports are suspended ‘while state of emergency … is in effect’ (April 2)

• With Gov. Whitmer reportedly set to close Michigan schools for remainder of academic year, can cancellation of high school sports be far behind?  (March 30)

• ‘What now?’ and ‘What next?’: A look at how Michigan’s prep athletes are coping with the ‘pause’ of the postseason, and what it might theoretically take to ‘unpause’ (March 17)

• MHSAA extends halt of athletic activities to include practices, scrimmages until at least April 5(March 13)

• MHSAA puts postseason on pause due to concerns over COVID-19 (March 12)

• UPDATED: MHSAA postseasons impacted by coronavirus; games put on pause, postponed indefinitely (March 11)