In addition to authorizing a vote of its membership to allow for waiver of its maximum age rule under certain circumstances, the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association also approved a variety of regulations and sports activities policies during its annual Spring Meeting, May 6-7, in Gaylord.
The Spring meeting of the 19-member legislative body of the Association’s over 1,500 member schools is generally the busiest of its three sessions each year. The Council considered 33 committee proposals and also dealt with a variety of eligibility rule, post-season tournament and operational issues.
A couple of the most visible changes will take place in ice hockey beginning with the 2012-13 school year, which will see longer games in the MHSAA post-season tournament and the addition of a regular-season contest. Tournament games will now have 17 minute periods, something which had been allowed by local adoption for regular season games previously. The regular season game limit was also raised, as the Representative Council approved a Hockey Committee recommendation to reduce the number of scrimmages to one in exchange for the addition of a 25th
Here is a summary of other actions taken at the Spring Representative Council Meeting which will take effect during the 2012-13 school year:
- By prior mutual consent of competing teams, schools may agree to vary the color of game uniforms to commemorate events or causes important to those schools, provided all other uniform specifications are followed. The wearing of pink and camouflage uniforms, for example, to show support for breast cancer awareness or members of our armed forces wounded in action, among others, have become popular; but previously required advanced approval from the MHSAA.
- The Council approved a revision of the sections of the MHSAA Handbook addressing the sanctioning of meets conducted by non-school organizations or individuals and large interstate meets. They now reflect the requirements of the National Federation of State High School Associations, as well as previously unstated policies and procedures of the MHSAA.
- In junior high/middle school matters, the Council revised the Handbook so that schools may decide to allow student-athletes in the 7th and 8th grades to be members of an interscholastic team in more than one sport at the same time; and to allow a student who will exceed the maximum age limit as a 7th or 8th grader to apply for “Eligibility Advancement” while in 6th grade to begin a maximum of two years of junior high/middle school participation.
- Responding to situations where celebrations by student-athletes and spectators have resulted in property damage at MHSAA post-season tournaments, the Council approved the following language for inclusion in participating team and tournament managers materials addressing team and spectator conduct.
- During contests, officials will penalize under applicable sportsmanship or playing rules those student-athletes or coaches who leave the field of play and contact or approach spectator areas for celebration.
- Each tournament manager or the MHSAA Staff may determine an acceptable number of crowd supervisors necessary for each school, dependent on the situation, including inappropriate celebrations and other crowd control issues.
- The cost for repair of replacement to facilities damaged as a result of participant and/or spectator conduct shall be paid by the school involved directly to the host facility within 30 days of the bill being submitted to the school. MHSAA reimbursement or revenue sharing will be withheld until paid by the offending school. Future tournament hosting privileges or school reimbursements to offending schools may be withheld if payment is not made.
- In Golf, the Council approved a committee recommendation to allow coaching contact for one designated coach during MHSAA tournament competition on all areas of the course, except when players reach the green. The school designated coach must be identified and approved by the school prior to the MHSAA tournament. Coaching privileges may not be transferred to persons not approved and designated by school administration. A committee recommendation to exempt one qualifying round of the Michigan Amateur Tournament from the limited team membership rule beginning in 2013, replacing the exemption approved in 2010 for the two U.S. Open qualifying stages, was adopted.
- In Boys Lacrosse, a committee recommendation to limit entry in the MHSAA post-season tournament beginning in 2013 to those schools that play no fewer than 50 percent of their regular season schedule against other MHSAA member school teams was approved.
- In Soccer, the Council did not adopt a National Federation rule adoption that eliminates a substitution for a player who receives a second yellow card. This action affects the 2012-13 school year only during which the Soccer Committee will consider this rule change further and its impact on Michigan’s ten-minute sit-out rule following a yellow card.
- A second day of weigh-ins will take place at the MHSAA Team Wrestling Finals, which will be independent of the previous day’s weigh-in, and all competitors would be given a one-pound growth allowance for consecutive days of weigh-in. The Council also approved a Wrestling Committee recommendation to permit wrestling practice to begin two Mondays before Thanksgiving. The first day of competition does not change.
The Council also reviewed reports on membership, with 763 senior high schools and 768 junior high/middle schools in 2011-12; eligibility advancement applications, which totaled nine for the year; the use of Educational Transfer Forms, which was stable this year; school violations, which declined significantly; attendance at athletic director and coaches in-service workshops; officials’ registrations, topping the 12,000 mark again; rules meeting attendance; and officials reports submitted for the past three sports seasons. The Association’s $9.8 million budget for the 2012-13 school year was also approved.
The Representative Council is the 19-member legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members 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.