There are some very good local high school boys and girls basketball programs that continue to sit on the sidelines hoping for a chance to play this season – and even take aim at a state title. And while there is both understanding and frustration on both sides of the court, Michigan continues to be one of only a handful of states not playing ball in January 2021.
“It’s very, very sad for our players,” said one HS coach. “No other way to say it. Our senior class has not had an organized practice together now for 10 months.”
And they will have to continue waiting …
“The continued Level E, ‘High Risk’ COVID status of Washtenaw County, the slower vaccination process alongside the confirmation of the variant in Ann Arbor, are concerns that directly inform our next steps during this 20-21 school year,” AAPS Supt. Jeanice Swift said on Friday. “We will continue to hold the health and safety of our staff and students as our top priority. This commitment will not change.”
Meanwhile, other states are dribbling along with their basketball and winter sports seasons.
According to an article by Jordan Divens on maxpreps.com, 41 states have kicked off their seasons, with the District of Columbia and New York set to begin Feb. 1. California, New Mexico and Oregon have decided to push their winter sports back to the spring.
Michigan’s targeted starting date as of Jan. 29 is Feb. 21. But that date has already been pushed back several times and time is running out.
Mark Uyl, executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, on the topic of Winter contact sports – girls and boys basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling – remaining on pause for contact activities including competition until Feb. 21, released a statement earlier this week.
“We are unable to provide specific plans yet as we are still evaluating the best options for delivering a memorable experience for 60,000 athletes involved in Winter contact sports,” Uyl stated. “We will continue asking questions and advocating for all of our schools and athletes as we work toward building our next plans for seasons in basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling. We will be ready with specific timelines as soon as MDHHS clears contact sports to begin full activity.
“We have said from the start of the 2020-21 school year that we would do everything possible to have three seasons, and play all three to completion. Our strong advocacy for all sports and seasons – and especially Winter sports – continues every day.”
The MHSAA is following the most recent emergency order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).