Photo: StudentandAthlete

Detroit Loyola junior Shenard Foster (11) runs for a touchddown against Madison Heights Bishop Foley on Saturday, Nov. 14, in the last MHSAA football playoff game played before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a three-week pause to high school sports the next day.

   The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, its plan for completing playoffs for its remaining fall sports – football, volleyball, and girls swimming and diving – once Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifts new restrictions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 put in place on Sunday, Nov. 15.

   Due to the restrictions, the MHSAA suspended its ongoing fall tournaments and all practices and competitions scheduled for winter sports for three weeks in accordance with the emergency order put out by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

   “We understand where COVID numbers were trending, and that’s why we have been supportive of the order to pause,” MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said in a statement. “But these fall sports deserve closure, and this strategy provides the best opportunities without further interruptions to a normal course of training and competition.

   “A very small percentage of our teams remain active in our fall tournaments, also limiting potential exposure to the virus across the state. Meanwhile, by waiting until January to begin winter competition, the council is allowing our teams to continue activity but also restricting the mixing of communities to further promote reducing COVID spread.”

   The MHSAA’s representative council approved an adjusted schedule for the football, volleyball and girls swimming and diving playoffs and also to resume winter sports in hopes the MDHHS gives the OK to proceed on Dec. 9, as presently scheduled.

   The only currently allowed coach-player contact and activities for all sports (fall, winter and spring) is virtual communication and meetings through at least Dec. 8 or until these new orders are amended.

   The volleyball and swimming and diving tournaments have one week remaining, with finals for both previously scheduled for Nov. 21. The 11 and eight-player football playoffs also are nearing their conclusions, with the eight-player postseason two games from completion and 11-player down to its final three rounds. Winter practices for all but boys basketball, bowling, skiing and wrestling had begun for high school teams.

   The plan is to resume practice for fall and upcoming winter sports Dec. 9. Michigan high school football playoffs would resume with regional finals Dec. 15-16, the state semifinals Dec. 21-22 and the eight state title games Dec. 28-29, still scheduled for Ford Field. The eight-man semifinals will be played Dec. 15-16 and the finals, at Midland Community Stadium, on Dec. 21-22.

   The volleyball quarterfinals will be Dec. 15. The state semifinals and finals, at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, will be Dec. 17-19.

   For swimming and diving, the three Lower Peninsula finals will be Dec.

22 (diving) and 23 (swimming) at three high school locations.


MHSAA's current restart plan for the remaining fall sports


Regionals: Tuesday-Wednesday,
Dec. 15-16, at various sites

Semifinals: Monday-Tuesday,
Dec. 21-22, at various sites

Finals: Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 28-29, at Ford Field, Detroit


Quarterfinals: Tuesday, Dec. 15, at various sites

Semifinals: Thursday-Friday, Dec. 17-18, at Kellogg Arena, Battle Creek

Finals: Saturday, Dec. 19, at Kellogg Arena, Battle Creek

Girls swimming and diving

Finals (Lower Peninsula): Diving, Tuesday, Dec. 22; Swimming,  Wednesday, Dec. 23.

Division 1: At Hudsonville

Division 2: At Grand Rapids Northview

Division 3: At Lake Orion