Michigan High School Wrestling Attempts To Move Forward With Masks

DCC masks.jpg

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Even with a mandate requiring wrestlers to mask up during competition, the Michigan high school wrestling community was relieved when the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced last month that practice would begin Nov. 16 and competition Dec. 9 -- almost the same time as usual.

However, the day before teams were to begin practicing, new set of orders issued by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer through the Michigan Department of Health forced the MHSAA to suspend all high school sports activity for three weeks.

The MHSAA's Representative Council then established new dates as Dec. 9 for practices and Jan. 4 for season-opening competition. 

"By waiting until January to begin Winter competition, the Council is allowing our teams to continue activity but also restricting the mixing of communities to further promote reducing COVID spread,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said in a release.

The Representative Council is the 19-member legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.

The Council meets again Dec. 4 for its annual Fall Meeting, and at that time will consider possible tournament adjustments necessary due to the shortened Winter competition season. There is a strong possibility team and individual state tournaments will be pushed back due to the start of the season being pushed back.

The MHSAA will announce team and individual state tournament information at a later date along with where the competitions will take place. Divisions 1 and 2, for example, could be held first before Division 3 and 4 similar to what was done with this season's cross county state meets. That would minimize the number of wrestlers, coaches and others at each tournament.

The MHSAA posted a 17-page Return to Play document on its web site Oct. 30, the most eye-opening aspect of which is a requirement that wrestlers wear masks at all times -- even during competition. 

For more than four months, the state's wrestlers have been testing themselves against some of the nation's best at competitions in places like South Carolina, Maryland, Nebraska, Indiana and South Dakota. At those events, they were only required to don masks when not competing. 

It appears that will be case in most states, including those that border Michigan like Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.  However, the face coverings rule also applies to out-of-state teams who travel to Michigan for competition. 

The mask requirement was prompted by the Michigan Department of Health's mandate that face coverings must be worn during indoor activities where physical distancing is not possible. 

Return to Play regulations further state that face coverings must be made of cloth or approved medical grade fabric/material which covers the nose and mouth and that extra, unused face coverings should be on hand and available in the event a face covering becomes damaged or unusable while competing. 

As with other indoor sports, coaches, event staff, officials, media and spectators must wear masks at all times. 

The MHSAA is also recommending that wrestlers use a different face covering for each match during a single day of competition and periodically changing face coverings during practice. Wrestlers should also have separate masks to wear when not competing.

Naturally, the mask mandate provoked some strong reactions on social media.

"The sheer stupidity of this is amazing!!," tweeted one wrestling coach from Ohio.

"I would rather have the mask rule and have a season than not," one wrestler posted.

Another Twitter post predicted that "The masks ain't gonna last through a double leg takedown."

The MHSAA guidelines also addressed what happens during competition as it pertains to the face coverings requirement.

If a mask comes down, it will be treated the same as if a head gear comes off during a match. The official will verbally inform the wrestler in question to adjust the face covering appropriately. Officials will stop action for the adjustment as soon as action allows or if either wrestler is placed in a dangerous situation.

If a mask comes down during a scoring or pinning situation, action will continue and the mask adjustment will be made at the conclusion of the scoring situation. Wrestlers will be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct should they purposely pull down an opponents' face covering.

Wrestlers will be allowed to replace damaged or broken masks during a match. As such, coaches are being encouraged to have a supply of clean, unused face coverings at each match.

Coaches may to try find face coverings which can be somehow attached to head gear to limit the times matches have to stopped for masks which have come off. 

Another option could be the use of the same face coverings sometimes used to simulate high altititude training like Training Mask 3.0, offered on trainingmask.com, which features a velcro strap. Airflow can even be adjusted.

Other stipulations limiting spectators, number of competitions and number of teams and wrestlers competing in events are being implemented.

Teams will be limited to one competition per week (Monday through Sunday) and wrestlers can only compete in three matches per competition. Only four teams are allowed to compete in the same building at the same time, meaning competitions will be limited to duals, tri-matches and quads. 

That also means no individually bracketed tournaments during the regular season such as county and even league tournaments. Conferences larger than four teams will have to use other methods to determine their champions such as the final dual-match standings. 

Coaches must remain on their benches during matches and benches will be at least 10 feet from the mat. 

As with fall sports in Michigan, scrimmages are prohibited and, at least to begin the season, attendance will be limited to two spectators per participant.

Regarding practice, coaches are being asked to limit the number of training partners each wrestler has and limit the number of wrestlers in the practice room at one time even if that means running split practices.

The MHSAA is also requesting that teams eliminate bonding activities like team dinners and other such gatherings outside of competition and practice. 

The Prince Of Providence: Johnson & Wales Assistant Coach Brian Allen

Brian Allen_2.jpg

The Johnson & Wales University wrestling program has been around since 1997 and has become one of the top programs in Division III. The JWU program had small beginnings, Head Coach Lonnie Morris started with just four wrestlers in the inaugural season. It didn’t take long for Coach Morris to build a roster and start to create buzz around the Wildcat program but he knew he needed help to make his vision a reality. Coach Morris didn’t just find help, he found his right-hand man in Brian Allen.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Post Junior & U23 Nationals Division III Wrestling Round-up

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

It was a busy weekend in the wrestling world and Division III programs around the country were taking advantage of the opportunity to compete. Multiple DIII wrestlers made the trek to Omaha, Nebraska to compete in freestyle and Greco-Roman at UWW Juniors and Universities. #19 Adrian College also hosted a competitive invitational this past weekend, this was the first NCAA competition that took place this season. The field included DIII Trine University, #7 NAIA-Indiana Institute of Technology, and NAIA-Thomas More University.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The Iowa Hawkeyes Are Preparing For 2021 However They Can

Tom Brands Mask.jpg

For schools across the country, college wrestling is going to look a little different this year. The kicker is, however, even as basketball schedules are expected to be released soon and the calendar ticks down to the holidays, no one knows for sure just how different it will be.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

How The Hawkeyes Can Gain Momentum For The NCAA Season After Omaha

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

For Iowa wrestling, finishing the 2020-21 season on the NCAA team leaderboard starts now.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The Top 6 Uncommitted Michigan High School Wrestlers In The Class Of 2021

Nathan Jerore

Led by one of the nation's best wrestlers, Davison's Alex Facundo, Michigan will be sending at least eight Class of 2021 grapplers to the NCAA Division 1 ranks next season.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Complete Preview - FloWrestling: RTC Cup Presented By Titan Mercury

null

The pools are set for next week's RTC Cup Presented by Titan Mercury where we'll see two days of incredible action. Here's a breakdown of the matches we expect to see during pool competition and how they could set up Saturday's bracket.

Darian Cruz To Represent Wolfpack WC At RTC Cup!

null

In the last couple of days, Nahshon Garrett and Seth Gross have been added to the field at 57kg for the RTC Cup. Wolfpack Wrestling Club has added its own NCAA champion at the weight in Darian Cruz.

Bader Show: Nahshon Garrett

Nahshon Garrett

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

On this episode of the Bader Show, Bray goes solo with Nahshon Garrett, the newest member of the Southeast RTC.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

FRL 579 - How RTC Cup Came To Be & Oklahoma State On Fire Recruiting

579. How The RTC Cup Came To Be

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

On episode 579 of FRL, the boys are joined by Jonny Ruggiano of TMWC to talk all about the RTC Cup, and then Ben and Bratke talk about the day one matchups they are most excited for at the RTC Cup, Oklahoma State's hot streak on the recruiting trail, some transfer news, and Ben goes to war on Thanksgiving food again.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

All Rosters Set For FloWrestling: 2020 RTC Cup Pres. by TMWC On Dec. 4-5

null

The RTC Clubs Cup rosters were already incredible, but 57kg has gotten even crazier in the last couple of days. On Sunday, The Southeast RTC announced the addition of Nahshon Garret, and yesterday on The Bader Show, Sean Bormet announced that Seth Gross would be competing for the Cliff Keen Wrestling Club next weekend. Check out full rosters below.