BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The bleachers were empty and the Dan Fife Gymnasium was dark on Friday night after a directive from Michigan High School Athletic Association halted the scheduled boys basketball district final between the Wolves and Lake Orion at Clarkston High School.
The MHSAA suspended all winter tournaments effective immediately on Thursday afternoon following the most recent update on the COVID-19, coronavirus, in Michigan.
“We want to do what is best for the kids in everything we do,” said Clarkston Athletic Director Jeff Kosin, adding the athletic department continues to follow and support the local and state directives. “I understand it’s a frantic time, it’s unprecedented, but we always want to follow and put the kids’ best interests when we make decisions. As unfavorable as they may be for some, we are always looking out for the best of kids’ safety and security at all times.”
“Based on the events of the last 48 hours and with things changing by the minute, we believe we have no choice but to suspend our winter tournaments immediately,” said MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl in a statement on Thursday. “This is a suspension until we have a better handle on the situation. The health and welfare of everyone involved is our number one priority.”
The Clarkston Athletics also suspended all spring practices on Thursday as well as cancelled the remainder of the winter season for middle school volleyball and wrestling teams.
By Friday afternoon, MHSAA sent an email directing all member schools to suspend activities in all sports for all seasons including the spring season, which began on Monday, March 9, with tryouts and practices.
The suspension of activities began on Monday, March 16, and will last until at least Sunday, April 5, to fall in line with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order closing all schools for the next three weeks.
“By suspending all sports activities for the next three weeks, we are taking an additional step to maintain safety and minimize risk first, and also keep a level playing field for our schools and teams during this time of uncertainty,” said Uyl. “A number of schools across the state already were making this decision, and setting this as the standard across our membership is appropriate, especially given the quick pace with which this situation is continuing to evolve.”
Athletic activities to be halted include practices, scrimmages and competitions/games. Also, strength training, conditioning and any other organized sessions and activities in all MHSAA in-season and out-of-season sports.
“Their best interest is the kids as well,” said Kosin. “I think they follow what’s going on on the professional level, they are following the NCAA, and there’s a trickle down effect. Again, this is unprecedented, it’s not as though they have a past on this to say on ‘years past this is what we have done.’ This is all brand new territory for everyone. What we are doing is assessing the situation and again making the best decision for the needs of the kids in this particular moment.”
He added he doesn’t know the fate for spring sports or the continuation for the winter post-season events.
“Could we not have a state championship in boys basketball this year? Yes, there is a possibility. Could we not have a state championship for boys swim? Yes, that’s a possibility,” Kosin said. “Is there a possibility all spring sports moving forward are cancelled this year? Yes, that’s a possibility. We take in account all things. As an AD, we work with the OAA, the league we are in. We are in constant contact with MHSAA with what they want to do.”
For updates from Clarkston Athletics, please follow on Facebook and Twitter. For updates from MHSAA, please visit www.mhsaa.com/coronavirus.
BY WENDI REARDON PRICE