EAST LANSING — Area athletic directors scrapped plans and schedules and prepared to start over after Wednesday’s state order pushed most winter sports back at least a week.
Thursday, the Michigan High School Athletic Association responded to Wednesday’s Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 orders with new schedules for winter contact sports — boys and girls basketball, hockey, wrestling and competitive cheerleading.
“I was actually just working on the schedule ... again,” Bellaire athletic director Brad Fischer said Thursday when contacted by the Record-Eagle.
The MHSAA’s revised slate has most contact sports able to begin practice Saturday, with game starts ranging from Feb. 1-8.
Both boys and girls basketball can hold their first contact practices Feb. 1 and begin play Feb. 4, with the start of the playoffs moved back to March 22 for girls and boys a day later. Championship games would be April 9 and 10.
Hockey and wrestling likewise can begin non-contact practices Saturday, with contact practices allowable Feb. 1. Hockey can play games Feb. 1, while wrestling’s openers wait until Feb. 8.
The hockey state championships are slated for March 27, with wrestling’s team finals March 31 and individual championships April 2-3. Postseason starts March 15 for both sports.
Competitive cheer waits until Feb. 8 to begin competitions, with non-contact practice able to start Saturday and contact practices Feb. 1. The finals are March 26-27.
The start of spring sports remain unchanged, with practices for those sports — which had their entire 2020 season wiped out by coronavirus — set for March 15.
“I’m very happy for the spring sports,” said Fischer, who coaches girls basketball in addition to AD duties. “It shouldn’t interrupt them much. Maybe a few teams that get deep into the playoffs.”
The updated schedule could conflict with spring breaks more than normal. The MHSAA said its research found 63 percent of schools have spring break the week of March 29-April 4, with 37 percent on break April 5-11.
“I feel bad if it affects family vacations,” Fischer said. “But the boys and girls only get to do this once.”
Alpine skiing already started, and bowling and boys swimming can begin events Jan. 23.