MHSAA’s Representative Council lays out initial plans for resuming fall postseasons in December
The Michigan High School Athletic Association doesn’t plan on wasting any time, if the three-week pause in activities isn’t extended at all.
The association’s Representative Council met on Wednesday, and hammered out the best-case scenario for resuming play shortly after the scheduled Dec. 9 end of the “pause” announced by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday.
If the MDHHS does not extend the “pause” beyond its initial three-week span, the MHSAA expects to be able to have the three remaining fall sports still competing — football, volleyball, and swimming and diving — resume practices on Dec. 9, and be finished with the postseason by the end of the calendar year. Winter sports would begin practicing the same day, and begin competition on Jan. 4.
“We understand where COVID numbers were trending, and that’s why we have been supportive of the order to pause,” MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said in a news release. “But these Fall sports deserve closure, and this strategy provides the best opportunities without further interruptions to a normal course of training and competition. “A very small percentage of our teams remain active in our Fall tournaments, also limiting potential exposure to the virus across the state. Meanwhile, by waiting until January to begin Winter competition, the Council is allowing our teams to continue activity but also restricting the mixing of communities to further promote reducing COVID spread.”
The MDHHS announced the pause Sunday evening, and put it in effect starting Wednesday. While the MHSAA could, in theory, have kept the volleyball quarterfinals in place on Tuesday, Uyl acknowledged in a Monday news conference that the optics of that would have been poor.
The volleyball quarterfinals will mark the first postseason to resume, with all four divisions played on Tuesday, Dec. 15, with the finals to be held at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena on Dec. 19.
The football postseason would also begin that day, with 11-player regional finals and 8-player semifinals on Dec. 15 and 16, followed by the next round on Dec. 21-22.
The 8-player finals will will be at Midland Community Stadium, with the 11-player finals scheduled for Ford Field on Dec. 28-29.
The Representative Council’s will explore potential adjustments to the winter sports postseasons at its scheduled Dec. 4 fall meeting.
• With COVID-19 numbers quickly rising again, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, MDHHS shut down Michigan’s high school athletics again (Nov. 15)
• No delays in the start of winter practices and competitions, MHSAA says (Oct. 23)
• Will winter sports start on time? MHSAA plans to give guidance to schools after Thursday’s meeting of Representative Council (Oct. 22)
• MHSAA: No changes to mask requirements, after Monday’s emergency order by MDHHS (Oct. 6)
• MHSAA tweaks cross country and swimming/diving tournaments to minimize number of participants, reverts girls golf to traditional field (Oct. 2)
• 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)