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(January 25, 2021 6:25 PM) Michigan High School Athletic Association Executive Director Mark Uyl said today said the MHSAA will do everything possible to have a winter sports season.   A statement by Uyl was released following Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s press briefing this afternoon.

On Friday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the end of some restrictions currently in place but continued the prohibition on indoor contact sports through February 21.  The MDHHS extended the previous emergency order which would have allowed contact activities to begin on February 1. 

The ban on indoor contact sports has been controversial in Michigan, particularly since the state high school football finals were just held at Ford Field this past weekend.

This afternoon, Governor Whitmer said concerns over a new variant strain of the COVID-19 virus played a role in the decision to postpone high school contact sports again.

“I understand the concern that parents and athletes have and their desire to re-engage but also point to some events that just happened in the last couple of days with seeing this variant growing in around Washtenaw County and around the University of Michigan campus,” Whitmer said. 

The Governor was referring to the complete two-week shutdown of the University of Michigan athletic department beginning yesterday.  As reported by The Michigan Daily, the order halts all athletic activity including practice, and is limited exclusively to U-M athletics, after a recent influx of positive cases within several Michigan teams.  The Michigan Daily reported the shutdown was ordered following confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, a more contagious strain of the deadly virus.

MHSAA Executive Director Uyl released the following statement late this afternoon:

“We are unable to provide specific plans yet as we are still evaluating the best options for delivering a memorable experience for 60,000 athletes involved in Winter contact sports. We will continue asking questions and advocating for all of our schools and athletes as we work toward building our next plans for seasons in basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling. We will be ready with specific timelines as soon as MDHHS clears contact sports to begin full activity.

“We have said from the start of the 2020-21 school year that we would do everything possible to have three seasons, and play all three to completion. Our strong advocacy for all sports and seasons – and especially Winter sports – continues every day.”

The MHSAA this past weekend concluded its 11-Player Football Finals, which along with Girls Volleyball, Lower Peninsula Girls Swimming & Diving and 8-Player Football Finals were allowed to conclude this month with competing teams and individuals taking part in an MDHHS rapid testing pilot program. 

Michigan winter contact sports are girls and boys basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling.

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