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MHSAA: Winter indoor sports may begin non-contact practices Saturday

LANSING — Basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling may begin non-contact practices Saturday, with their first competitions scheduled for Feb. 1, the Michigan High School Athletic Association said Wednesday.

Because of the later start to competition schedules, the MHSAA will adjust its tournament dates for those four contact sports to conclude on later dates than what is currently scheduled. Those dates will be announced later this week, said MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl.

Three non-contact winter sports will also be allowed to restart practice Saturday, per the updated epidemic order announced Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Girls gymnastics, girls and boys bowling, and girls and boys swimming and diving may begin competition before the end of this month — swimming and diving Jan. 22 and gymnastics and bowling Jan. 25. Masks will be required of all participants except when they are actively participating in gymnastics and swimming and diving. Spectators will be capped at 100 persons in school gyms or 250 in stadiums and arenas, per MDHHS orders.

Girls and boys skiing, as an outdoor non-contact sport, was allowed to begin in December.

“We are glad to have three more sports join skiing in returning to full activity, but we understand the disappointment and frustration on the part of our athletes and coaches whose sports are not yet able to restart completely,” Uyl said. “We will continue to adjust schedules to provide all of our winter teams as substantial an experience this season as possible, as part of our greater plan this school year to play all three seasons to conclusion.

“We have shown with our remaining fall sports this month that our schools can participate safely, and we’re confident teams will continue to take all the appropriate precautions as we jump back into indoor winter activities,” he said.

Spring sports teams and fall teams not participating in the MDHHS rapid testing pilot program may begin four-player workouts and resume conditioning Jan. 16, but only with non-contact activities. Fall teams finishing their seasons in girls volleyball, Lower Peninsula girls swimming and diving and football have been able to do so by taking part in the MDHHS rapid testing pilot program for COVID-19.

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