MHSAA: Winter sports will start on time

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan High School Athletic Association says winter sports will start on time.

The MHSAA Representative Council made the decision at its Thursday meeting, also approving safety guidelines mean to control the spread of coronavirus.

“The Council believes it is safer to begin Winter practices on time, and keep athletes in school programs where safety precautions are always in effect,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said in a Friday statement. “With the vastly different circumstances faced by schools in different regions all over the state, an on-time start still allows schools to decide when they feel most comfortable beginning activity – and allows all of them to slowly ramp up their frequency of activity and numbers of spectators attending competitions.

“But let’s be clear: Our statewide COVID-19 numbers have to get better,” Uyl’s statement continued. “In order for our schools to continue playing sports this winter, and in order for fans to be there to cheer them on, we must continue working to slow down this virus.”

Practices will start in early November and games begin as early as mid-November. The number of teams and competitors at competitions will be limited and athletes will have to wear masks in sports that don’t allow for social distancing. Spectator capacity will be limited.

The football season started late this fall due to the pandemic. This week, seven games in West Michigan were called off due to COVID-19 cases within schools.

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