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MHSAA cancels winter and spring sports seasons

EAST LANSING — The unfortunate news that everybody had waiting for came down Friday, as the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced it has cancelled the remainder of the 2019-20 winter and spring sports seasons.

The move was made in compliance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “state of disaster” directive announced Thursday, which closed school buildings and moved education online for the remainder of the year to help decrease the spread of COVID-19.

This will be the first year multiple MHSAA Finals won’t be played since 1942-43, when World War II was ongoing.

“We are heartbroken to not be able to provide these opportunities for Michigan’s student-athletes, and especially seniors. We continue to hear from dozens asking us to hold out hope. But safety always must come first, and Governor Whitmer is making courageous decisions to safeguard the people of our state,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said in a press release. “We understand as much as anyone how much school sports mean to athletes and their communities. We had ideas and hopes for finishing winter and spring and helping bring some sort of normalcy after this long break. But this is the correct decision, and we will play our part in bringing schools and communities together again when the time is right.

“For now, we cannot state strongly enough that all students, staffs and others follow the guidelines established to slow the spread of this virus — we all must do our part.”

On March 12, the MHSAA suspended its girls and boys basketball, gymnastics, hockey and boys swimming & diving tournaments amid COVID-19 concerns. All activity in all sports was halted March 13.

The MHSAA’s Representative Council approved a series of concepts for completing the winter tournaments and an abbreviated spring season, contingent on the lifting of a statewide quarantine during its winter meeting March 27. The closure of school buildings into June eliminated those possibilities.

Because the five winter sports were not able to conclude with finals, no champions will be crowned. However, championships won at earlier rounds of those tournaments will continue to stand.

In coming weeks, the MHSAA will provide guidelines and other information pertinent to this unusual offseason as attention is turned to preparing for fall sports.

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