By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The concluding rounds of Michigan High School Athletic Association postseason tournaments in football, girls volleyball and girls swimming & diving will be completed during January, as the MHSAA continues to follow all emergency orders from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS).
Football teams may begin two days of outdoor, non-contact conditioning and drills, wearing helmets and shoulder pads with physical distancing, on Monday, Dec. 28, in advance of the first round of testing Dec. 30 as part of an MDHHS rapid testing pilot program. Schools will test players, coaches and other team personnel, with full-contact practice then allowed after a first round of negative results. The testing program will utilize BinaxNOW antigen tests that produce results within 15 minutes.
For football, 11-Player Regional Finals and 8-Player Semifinals will be played Saturday, Jan. 9. The 8-Player Finals and 11-Player Semifinals will be played Saturday, Jan. 16; and 11-Player Finals will be played during the weekend of Jan. 22-23.
The MDHHS’s current epidemic order – which paused activity beginning Nov. 18 – is set to expire Jan. 15, and if restrictions on non-contact sports are lifted then volleyball and swimming & diving could practice and compete at that time outside of the required rapid testing program. If the MDHHS epidemic order continues, volleyball and swimming & diving could begin practice, but those teams and individuals will have to follow all requirements of the MDHHS rapid testing pilot program to be eligible to participate. Specific plans and dates for volleyball and girls swimming & diving practice resumption and MHSAA tournaments will be finalized and shared with competing schools in early January.
Volleyball competition will restart with Quarterfinals, and Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving has advanced to its Finals. The championship events in both sports would be completed no later than Jan. 30.