MHSAA: Non-contact winter sports practices can begin Saturday

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — More high school winter sports may restart practices Saturday, the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday.

The announcement comes after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services loosened restrictions in place as the state saw a COVID-19 surge. MDHHS on Wednesday said indoor group exercise and indoor non-contact sports may resume with masks and social distancing.

Three sports, girls gymnastics; girls and boys bowling; and girls and boys swimming & diving, are considered non-contact sports and can restart in full.

Swimming & diving can start competing Jan. 22. Gymnastics and bowling can start competing Jan. 25. Masks will be required for athletes except when participating. Under MDHHS orders, 100 spectators can attend competitions in school gyms and 250 spectators can attend competitions in stadiums and arenas.

MHSAA said basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling are considered contact sports and can start non-contact practices Saturday. Competitions for contact sports are scheduled to start Feb. 1. Adjusted tournament dates will be announced later this week, MHSAA says.

Girls and boys skiing, which is considered a non-contact sport, began in December.

“We are glad to have three more sports join skiing in returning to full activity, but we understand the disappointment and frustration on the part of our athletes and coaches whose sports are not yet able to restart completely,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “We will continue to adjust schedules to provide all of our winter teams as substantial an experience this season as possible, as part of our greater plan this school year to play all three seasons to conclusion.

“We have shown with our remaining Fall sports this month that our schools can participate safely, and we’re confident teams will continue to take all the appropriate precautions as we jump back into indoor Winter activities.” 

Spring sports and fall sports that are not participating in the state’s rapid test pilot program can start four-player workouts and conditioning Saturday.

Fall sports teams that are currently finishing seasons have tournaments this weekend and next weekend.

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