Covid-19 puts end to tournament play

TRI-CITY AREA — The Michigan High School Athletic Association has directed all of their members to suspend activities in all sports for all seasons.

That decision became effective Monday, March 16 and will run through as least Sunday, April 5. It will fall in line with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s order that all schools close for the next three weeks in order to deter the spread of Covid-19.

Dryden’s Nathan Schenkel brings the ball up the floor in a district game last week.

All athletic activities to be halted include practices, scrimmages and competitions/games, as well as strength training, conditioning and any other organized sessions and activities in all MHSAA in-season and out-of-season sports.

The suspension of activities applies to sports for all three MHSAA seasons as Spring sports practices are underway, Winter tournaments were suspended as of last Thursday and Fall sports coaches are working with limited numbers of athletes during the offseason.

“By suspending all sports activities for the next three weeks, we are taking an additional step to maintain safety and minimize risk first, and also keep a level playing field for our schools and teams during this time of uncertainty, MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “A number of schools across the state already were making this decision, and setting this as the standard across our membership is appropriate given the quick pace with which the situation is continuing to evolve,” he stated.

“Given the rapid, fast-moving and unprecedented events of this week, the MHSAA will use the time during this all-sport suspension of activities to evaluate all options and next steps which will be shared with schools in a timely manner.”

Updates will continue to be posted as necessary to the MHSAA website at virus

A pair of Tri-City basketball squads, the Imlay City girls’ basketball team and the Dryden boys’ basketball squad, were still in the midst of successful winter tournament runs when the decision came down.

The Imlay City girls’ basketball team was to have met Lake Fenton for a Division 2 regional title last Thursday at Goodrich High School, while the Dryden boys’ basketball squad was to have battled Clarkston Everest Collegiate in a Division 4 district championship game at home last Friday.

Both of those contests wound up being postponed. It is uncertain whether they will be rescheduled or not for a later date.

Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.