The JAM Weight Room in the George Roche sports complex sits empty. (Hillsdale Ath­letics | Courtesy)

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.”