When Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer announced more statewide restrictions on Sunday night, the Hillsdale College Chargers waited to find out the impacts on their upcoming winter sports seasons.
The recent epidemic order from the Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services, which went into effect on Nov. 18, canceled all sporting events below the professional level. It also prevents people from gathering indoors in groups of more than 10, affecting teams’ abilities to practice and train together.
As far as outside competition goes, the Chargers still have no answer. The men’s and women’s basketball teams are supposed to begin conference competition on Thursday, Dec. 3 at Kentucky Wesleyan University, and the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams are scheduled to start on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the University of Findlay.
“At this time, our department is still in the process of determining how the orders impact our current schedule and how we will proceed going forward,” Director of Athletic Communications James Gensterblum said. “We’re looking to announce our finalized plan for this period in the very near future once we’ve finished those determinations.”
As for the teams’ preparations on campus, they are facing more restrictions, whether they are currently in season or not.
Teams are no longer allotted specific times to use the J.A.M Varsity Weight Room in the George C. Roche Sports Complex. Prior to this recent mandate, teams were given designated times when they could train as a team. Now, the weight room is open on a first-come, first-serve basis to the individual athletes.
Hillsdale strength and conditioning coach Mitch Shoenborn sent out an email to coaches on Tuesday night with the updated guidelines for weight room use. He said coaches are no longer allowed to lead training sessions, as only athletes will be allowed in the weight room.
The weight room will be divided in two sides, allowing 10 student athletes per side at any given time. A white board will remain outside the weight room for the athletes to sign in and out, and they are allowed a maximum 60-minute session. These changes will remain in effect through the remainder of the semester.
The Hillsdale swimming team continues to practice, but Friday’s meet at Calvin College was canceled as of Saturday. They will have an intersquad time trial on Saturday, but only 10 athletes will be able to compete at a time.
Head track and field coach Andrew Towne sent an email to his teams on Wednesday morning saying he plans to proceed with the Blue-White meet on Monday, Nov. 23 in the Biermann Athletic Center. The athletes will compete only with those in their event groups and at different times.
The men’s basketball team had a Blue-White scrimmage of its own on Monday night. The Chargers competed against each other in live-action play with officials. They have a scrimmage scheduled against Salem University at home on Nov. 21, which head coach John Tharp said he’s still unsure if it will happen.
“My understanding is no matter what the G‑MAC or the NCAA may say, you have to follow your state rules and regulations. We are following what the state of Michigan is requiring, which is to be tested six days a week,” Tharp said. “We’re working to get the rapid antigen tests so we can play and if we get that we can play this Saturday.”