High School Fall Sports to Return with Testing, January Finals
The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Friday that the Fall sports championships will be completed in mid-January following the announcement of in-person schooling being allowed after the Christmas break.
High schools will be allowed to open Monday, December 21st with the latest epidemic order from the Department of Health and Human Services, allowing practices to return for the fall sports of Football, Volleyball and Girls Swimming and Diving in the Lower Peninsula.
Indoor Winter sports will still be off and not allowed to practice. The three sports still in postseason play were entered into a pilot program for teams remaining in the postseason for rapid antigen testing for COVID-19. The Department of Health and Human Services has issued the testing at no cost to schools and was originally allocated for senior living homes for use, according to MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl. The pilot rapid antigen testing program is designed to gain insight and collect data on the spread of COVID-19 with the Department's intent to expand rapid testing to schools in January. The lone outdoor winter sport - Skiing - is allowed to return to practice and participating in competitions.
The first football games will take place Saturday, January 2nd, for 11-Mman Regional Finals and 8-Man State Semifinals. Saturday, January 9th, will be the 8-Man State Finals and 11-Man State Semifinals. Friday, January 15th, and Saturday, January 16th, are the scheduled dates for the State Finals for 11-Man. As of right now, championship sites are still being determined. Uyl stated in his virtual press conference that Ford Field in Detroit "is still a possibility."
Volleyball State Quarterfinal action will occur Tuesday, January 5th, with Semifinals January 7th and 8th at Kellogg Arena. The Finals are also at Kellogg Arena Saturday, January 9th. The St. Philip Fighting Tigers and Bronson Vikings are still in action in the volleyball postseason. St. Philip will take on Lansing Christian in a Division 4 Quarterfinal at Portage Northern. Bronson takes on Monroe St. Mary Catholic at Whitmore Lake in their Division 3 Quarterfinal.
Girls Swimming and Diving Finals will be January 15th and 16th. Division 1 will be held at Hudsonville, Grand Rapids Northview for Division 2 and Lake Orion hosts Division 3. The Diving Finals will be held on the 15th as Kennedy Lynn of Marshall will compete.
High schools under the order will be allowed to open for practice purposes only during the holiday break. The current epidemic order ends January 16th. The determination on Winter indoor practices will be announced in January. In-person learning for schools will be determined by each local district, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.