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MHSAA reacts to new state guidelines for high school sports

LANSING — Two recent rulings by Michigan government agencies are making a small amount of difference for sporting events conducted under the auspices of the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

A Michigan Supreme Court ruling on Friday and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services emergency order issued Monday just changes the effective date of new regulations for crowds and gatherings, the MHSAA said.

The effective date became immediate instead of this Friday for rules that include 20% of seating capacity for indoor venues with a fixed limit of 500 spectators. Outdoors in a fixed-capacity venue, 30% of maximum capacity is allowed with an upper limit of 1,000 spectators, no matter the capacity size.

But outdoors for a non-fixed-seat venue, such as a cross country or golf meet, allowable numbers are up to 30 spectators per 1,000 square feet, again with an upper limit of 1,000.

The MHSAA advises that schools may continue to use the two spectators per participant guideline that had been in effect previously.

And all these guidelines still require social distancing and strongly encourage mask wearing for spectators and require it for participants in a number of sports.

If a local health department issued orders stricter than these, member schools are expected to follow those orders.

The full MHSAA memorandum is available online at www.mhsaa.com/Portals/0/Documents/AD%20Forms/MHSAA%20Guidance%2012.pdf.