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MHSA Shares Guidelines for Basketball, Swimming & Wrestling

November 12, 2020 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballSwimmingWrestling
With the fall athletics season coming to an end in the Montana High School Association (MHSA), the attention has turned to the guidelines and parameters for the winter sports season.

The MHSA had previously announced that practices for winter sports like basketball, wrestling, and swimming won’t begin until December 7 and games won’t begin until after the new year.

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Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Recently, according to a report from MontanaSports.com, the MHSA executive board decided on varying regulations, guidelines, and formats for the upcoming winter season.

The basketball season will run similarly to the fall’s volleyball season. There will be no multi-team events and teams are allowed to create an 18-game schedule with conference games taking precedence over non-conference showdowns. For postseason play, the state tournament is scheduled for March 11 through 13, according to MontanaSports.com.

As for wrestling and swimming, both regular-season schedules have been adjusted with divisionals slated for February 26-27, and the state tournament the following weekend, with sites and formats to be determined at a later date, according to MontanaSports.com.

“Wrestling is concerning because it’s a close-contact sport, for sure. But after we did some research nationally through our NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) association, their sports medicine advisory committee, and we looked at some of the things wrestlers and wrestling people do right now in regard to infectious diseases — they deal with it all the time — so we looked at all that information and said, ‘Hey, this can be done, but it has to be done very carefully,’” said MHSA executive director Mark Beckman, according to MontanaSports.com. “We’re limiting it to duals and limiting it to two matches in a day, plus they have to change singlets and all kinds of sanitation protocols will be in place.

The MHSA executive board did not settle on a statewide start date.

“For regular-season winter sports, it will be up to the local county health departments in regard to spectators,” Beckman told MontanaSports.com.

While spectator policies will also be left up to local health departments, the MHSA executive board did push up the start date of competition to January 2.

“It gives them another opportunity to have a contest because we know they’re going to be practicing, even over the (Christmas) break,” Beckman told MontanaSports.com. “They (originally could start competition) that Monday, Jan. 4, which a lot of schools may throw games on there, or would have. But going to Jan. 2, we think that’s feasible in having the weekend day for that, it would be great. We know, also, that the schedule as it is, we’re going to keep everything, the postseason and everything in basketball, and we’ve adjusted it for swimming and wrestling, so by doing this and allowing those contests, it gives them more opportunities to get those games in.”

To read the full report from MontanaSports.com on the MHSA releasing guidelines for winter sports, click here