Statement on Spectators, Winter Contact Sports
January 22, 2021
The following statements are attributable to Mark Uyl, executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, in response to today’s announcements by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on the topics of spectators and Winter contact sports.
Governor Whitmer and MDHHS announced that sports arenas with capacities of at least 10,000 spectators may allow up to 500 to attend events. However, no additional tickets will be sold for today and Saturday’s 11-Player Football Finals at Ford Field.
“We have been planning these Finals for weeks to include immediate family, and unfortunately this isn’t a process we can adjust midstream,” Uyl said. “Distributing more tickets would put stress on those plans and Ford Field staffing, and force schools to make more hard decisions on who will be able to attend, but at the last second instead of with prior planning.”
Governor Whitmer and MDHHS also announced that Winter contact sports – including MHSAA activities in girls and boys basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling – must remain non-contact through Feb. 21. The previous emergency order was set to expire at the end of January and would’ve allowed those sports to begin contact activities Feb. 1.
“We found out about this decision at 9:30 a.m. like everyone else, and we will address it as quickly as possible after taking the weekend to collect more information,” Uyl said. “We did not anticipate this delay in winter contact practices and competition, and today’s announcement has created many new questions.
“Obviously, this is disappointing to thousands of athletes who have been training with their teams over the last week and watching teams in other states around Michigan play for the last two months.”