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MHSAA’s Representative Council lays out initial plans for resuming fall postseasons in December

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, November 18, 2020, 7:44 pm

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. 

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