TRI-CITY AREA — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced last Thursday that Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools may begin full practice activities in the winter contact sports of girls’ and boys’ basketball, competitive cheer and wrestling on Monday, February 8, with some precautions to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Competition in those four sports also will begin next week, with basketball and hockey able to play February 8 and cheer and wrestling able to compete starting February 12.

Those four winter contact sports have been allowed to practice since January 16, but only with non-contact activities. MHSAA Tournament dates for all four sports previously were scheduled into late March and early April to accommodate a later start to the regular season, and those dates will be mentioned later in this article. All four winter contact sports also must participate with some level of masking and/or rapid testing, also detailed later in this story.

All testing will be coordinated between schools and MDHHS or their local health departments. Following are specific precautions and key dates for those contact sports at the high school level. Participants are defined as athletes, coaches and other team personnel active in practice and competition. For the sports detailed, regular season contests may be played up until the dates of the MHSAA finals in that sport.

Girls’ Basketball

Masking-testing- All participants must wear face coverings at all times, including all practices, non-game activities and during games. A testing requirement may allow participants to remove masks while in active participation on the floor if they test negative that game day, more details will be provided to schools when confirmed.

Competition limit- Teams may play up to three games a week, Monday through Sunday.

First contest – February 8
Districts –
March 22, 24 and 26
Regionals –
March 29, 31
Quarterfinals- April 5
Semifinals- April 7
Finals- April 9

Boys’ Basketball

Masking-testing- Same requirements as Girls’ basketball.

Competition limit- Teams may play up to three games a week, Monday through Sunday.

First contest – February 8
Districts –
March 23, 25 and 27
Regionals – March 30 and April 1
Quarterfinals – April 6
Semifinals – April 8
Finals – April 10

Competitive Cheer

Masking-testing- Teams may compete without testing or face coverings, but must wear masks at all times outside of active competition or stunting/tumbling practice.

Competition limit- Teams may participate in 12 days of competition, not counting MHSAA Tournament events.

First contest –
February 12
Districts – March 15-20
Regionals – March 22-24
Finals – March 26-27

Ice Hockey

Masking-testing- All participants must wear face coverings at all teams, including all practices, non-game activities and during games. A testing requirement may allow participants to remove masks while in active participation on the ice if they test negative on game day. More details will be provided to schools when confirmed.

Competition limit- Teams may play up to three games per week, Monday through Sunday. Teams may also play two games on one non-school day twice during those weeks, teams are allowed up to four games Monday through Sunday.

First contest – February 8
Regionals – March 15-20
Quarterfinals – March 23
Semifinals –
March 25-26
Finals – March 27

Wrestling

Masking-testing- Testing is required for wrestling, but competitors will not be required to wear face coverings.

Competition limit- Teams may compete two days per week, Monday through Sunday, with no more than four teams at a site (with each individual competing in up to three matches a day).

First contest –
February 12
Districts – March 15-20
Regionals – March 22-28
Team Finals – March 30
Individual Finals –
April 2-3

The same masking and testing requirements will be in place for all junior high/middle school teams wishing to compete in the four winter contact sports.

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Kevin Kissane

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.