High School Fall Playoffs Pushed Back Farther, End of January Conclusion
The Michigan High School Athletic Association has had to adjust the completion of their Fall sports postseason timeline a few times since their initial three-week pause that began in November.
The MHSAA announced December 23rd for Football, Volleyball, and Girls Swimming and Diving had to stop practices again to allow the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to properly instruct coaches and administrators how to properly administer the rapid antigen tests the student-athletes will be taking while preparing for competition to return. These three sports are the only sports to still have their postseason tournaments left to complete and were placed in a pilot program to use the tests. The MDHHS is helping distribute the tests at no costs to schools that were originally slated to go to senior and long-term living homes. Those homes are receiving the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.
On Saturday, December 26th, the MHSAA announced that Football can return to practice on Monday, December 28th, but limited to non-contact practices with helmets and shoulder pads while keeping physically distant. After the first round of negative antigen tests results for players, coaches and team personnel on December 30th, teams still in the playoffs will continue to practice with contact preparing for competition.
The new timeline for the Football playoffs has the 11-Man Regional Finals and 8-Man State Semifinals on Saturday, January 9th. The following Saturday, January 16th will feature the 8-Man State Finals and the 11-Man State Semifinals. The 11-Man Finals are planned for January 22nd and 23rd. The Finals sites have not been determined.
Competitions for Volleyball and Girls Swimming and Diving for the Lower Peninsula are now being held off until after the current epidemic order in place from the MDHHS ends on January 15th. Dates have not been determined, but the goal for the MHSAA is to complete these championships by January 30th. Volleyball still has the State Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals to complete. Swimming and Diving just has their State Finals to complete.