The long wait for the winter contact sports will finally come to an end after the Thursday epidemic order amendment from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The announcement came from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer that contact sports at the High School level can begin on Monday, February 8th, for practices and competition. For the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the sports involved are Boys and Girls Basketball, Ice Hockey, Wrestling and Competitive Cheer. While basketball and hockey competition can get underway competitively right away, Wrestling and Competitive Cheer competitions will be allowed on Friday, February 12th.

There are a number of health measures that have also taken shape under the new epidemic order with the contact sports. There are masks that are required for practices and competition for all of these sports. Extra measures for Wrestling involves rapid testing that will take place the day of competition. Those tests will be provided to the schools from the MDHHS at no charge. Weigh-ins for the participants will be done at the schools, meaning the road teams will weigh-in before leaving school to head to competition. A single positive test would force the participant out of competition for a minimum seven days with contact tracing to potentially force other participants out for the same time.

Competitive Cheer also has a full mask requirement until a team takes to the competitive mat, as they will not be making contact with other participants directly. As for Basketball, MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl announced during his press conference today that he is waiting on guidance from the MDHHS on the possibility of rapid testing for the sport instead of wearing masks.

As for the revised Winter sports schedule, the timeline will not change for the postseason. Ice Hockey, Wrestling and Competitive Cheer's first postseason contests will take place March 15th. The postseason for both Boys and Girls Basketball begins the following week of March 22nd. The sites for the finals are also still being determined.

With the new order, the mask requirement for contact sports will continue until Monday, March 29th. There are no changes for the current non-contact sports already underway in Boys and Girls Bowling, Skiing, Girls Gymnastics, Boys Swimming and Diving (Lower Peninsula), and Girls Swimming and Diving (Upper Peninsula).

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