Area Athletes Urge Governor Whitmer to Reconsider Ban on Winter Contact Sports
As area winter contact sports teams continue to wait for their season to return, student-athletes are taking to social media and letting Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services know that they want to play responsibly.
Currently high school basketball, hockey competitive cheerleading and wrestling are banned through Sunday, Feb. 21.
The Sault Ste. Marie girls basketball team put together a video sharing their reasons for allowing sports to continue, noting the importance of sports and COVID-19 tests results from the fall sports postseason.
The Blue Devils are coming off a 21-1 campaign and a Division 2 regional final appearance, and after seeing their 2019-20 season ending abruptly, they’re not taking anything for granted.
“We talk about it every day at practice that to enjoy it here, have fun. That’s our main motto,” Sault Ste. Marie coach Patrick Bennin said. “Have fun every day because we found out last year that it can be taken away from you in a moment’s notice. So every time you’re out on the floor, enjoy it.”
“We were obviously really devastated that we didn’t get a chance to compete in the regional final. But we’re working really hard this year to hopefully get back to that spot,” added senior Emily McLean.
The MHSAA is still working on specific plans for the winter sports seasons.
“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,” MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said. “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.”