EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) — The selection of a restructured classification procedure for ice hockey and the approval of new weight classes for boys’ wrestling were among the most notable steps taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its annual spring report. Meeting, May 1-2 at Gaylord.
The spring meeting of the 19-member legislative body from the Association’s more than 1,500 member schools is usually the busiest of its sessions each year. The Board reviewed 33 committee proposals and addressed a variety of eligibility rules, post-season tournaments and operational issues.
The Board approved a proposal from the Ice Hockey Committee to continue to classify teams by registration, but taking into account whether these teams are stand-alone (one school) or cooperative (multiple schools) programs. About half of MHSAA’s member hockey programs are co-ops. Beginning in the 2022-23 season, standalone and cooperative programs will be ranked by registration, but on separate slates, with the top third of each slate placed in Division 1, the second thirds in Division 2, and the top thirds in Division 2. low in Division 3. This change should rebalance the Divisions; in the recent past, Division 1 was mostly comprised of co-op programs, as the combined enrollment of schools involved in co-ops propelled them to the top of the sport’s overall ranking list. However, cooperatives have generally not benefited from the participation of more schools; instead, co-ops primarily allowed schools to continue providing opportunities for athletes who wanted to play hockey when a school did not have enough for a full team.
The Board also approved moving the current boys’ wrestling weight classes to those determined by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS): 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 144, 150, 157, 165, 175, 190, 215 and 285 lbs. The NFHS will begin using these weights nationally in 2023-24, but MHSAA member schools will make the switch starting in 2022-23. The Board also approved a change to a girl’s weight, from 255 pounds to 235, bringing all MHSAA girls’ weight classes in line with those determined by the NFHS.
A pair of new opportunities to use video replay starting in the 2022-23 school year will provide additional support for game officials when making split-second calls during competition, while ensuring the correct outcome of some of the most controversial pieces. The Board approved a recommendation from the Officials Review Committee to provide MHSAA staff with the ability to view video of an ejection and modify subsequent penalties in three instances: when there is an error in clear identification and that the wrong athlete is expelled, when that participant is expelled as a direct result. misapplication of the rules, or when compelling video evidence shows that an ejection or suspension for blatant contact with an opponent or official was a mistake. Officials have continued to support the use of replay at MHSAA events whenever possible, and game officials make up more than half of the Officials Review Board.
Also on the subject of the video review, the replay will be extended during the 11-man football finals to allow head coaches to complete a challenge during the game. The challenge will cost that team a timeout if the initial result is confirmed. Coaches will be allowed to challenge the following: complete/incomplete passes, whether a runner/receiver was in/out of bounds, a runner not being declared downed, point of forward progression as it relates to yardage to be won, which player is first kicked, recovery of a ball in/out of bounds, whether a pass was forward or backward, and penalties for illegal forward pass, targeting or contact illegal helmet, and pass interference only with respect to the previously deflected pass. All scores and potential turnovers will automatically remain under review by the replay booth managers. It was a proposal from the MHSAA football committee.
The Council has taken several actions regarding the “fifth quarter” rule that allows athletes to play at the sub-college and university levels on the same day (or the same week of competition for football) to help programs that otherwise lack enough participants. to field teams at both levels. The Board approved a recommendation from the Soccer Committee to allow athletes to play no more than three halves on a day not followed by a school day. The Board also approved an enhanced sanction stating that violators of the fifth-quarter rule must forfeit the contest in which the violation occurred (i.e., sub-university university), and that the head coach in infraction will not be eligible for the day after the competition. Additionally, the Board approved a recommendation from the Committee on Middle and High Schools authorizing leagues and conferences to ask MHSAA staff about the ability to use the fifth quarter rule for basketball.
The following is a summary of other notable actions taken by the Representative Council at the spring meeting, which will take effect in the 2022-23 school year, unless otherwise noted:
• Minnesota has been added as a “border state” for all out-of-state competitions. MHSAA member schools will be allowed to play opponents from anywhere in Minnesota regardless of the 300 mile travel limit rule, as is also allowed for opponents from Illinois, ‘Indiana, Ohio, Ontario and Wisconsin.
• For baseball and softball, the Board approved the creation of separate site selection committees to determine where the district and regional rounds of these tournaments will be played.
• In Bowling, the Board approved a proposal from the Bowling Committee to make the Regional Team Qualifying Block format the same as the Team Finals format. Teams will play eight Baker games and two regular games at both levels of the MHSAA tournament beginning in the 2022-23 season. Previously, teams have played six Baker games and three regular regional games.
• In the spirit of competition, the Board approved a recommendation from the Girls Competitive Cheer Committee to adopt, beginning in the 2023-24 season, a new choreography chart that awards points based on tumbling, extensions of a leg, vertical/360 twists and release skills that cannot replace a maximum of 10 points of earned points.
• Still encouraging, the Board approved a recommendation from the Committee adjusting the penalty for exceeding the time limit in each lap to one penalty point for each second over the time limit, without exceeding 15 points.
• In football, the Board approved a Football Committee recommendation to allow players to wear shoulder pads at college camps sponsored and hosted directly by NCAA or NAIA institutions.
• In golf, the Board approved a pair of recommendations from the Golf Committee regarding MHSAA tournament play. Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, teams will be allowed two “school-approved” coaches to attend and actively coach during post-season competition. Additionally, the Board approved a reduction in the maximum number of strokes allowed per hole during the MHSAA tournament from 12 to 10.
• Two other Board actions on recommendations from the Hockey Committee will affect MHSAA tournament play in the sport. Beginning in the 2022-23 season, Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) will be used to seed the entire regional round (which is the first round of the playoffs in hockey; there is no district). Additionally, teams will be re-seeded before the start of the semi-finals by a seeding committee, with the first seed in each division then facing the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed facing the No. ° 3 in the other semi-final.
• In soccer, the Board approved a soccer committee recommendation allowing both district ranked teams to host their games if they are not to be played at a pre-arranged host site. For these districts, the #1 seed gets hosting priority, followed by the #2 seed, followed by the team on the first line of support.
• For diving, the Board approved a proposal from the Swimming and Diving Committee reorganizing the number of finalists who will move from each diving regional. In each of the three divisions, each regional will be guaranteed 10 qualifiers for the finals; the remaining six qualifying spots per division will be distributed to Regionals who have one of the top six divers from the previous year’s Finals returning to their fields.
• In tennis, the Council approved a recommendation from the Tennis Committee allowing up to seven players to be ranked in No. 1 singles if there are between 21 and 23 players in the field, and up to eight players to be ranked if the peloton has 24 or more. Singles Flight #1 is the only flight where participants can qualify for the finals separately from their full team.
College High School
• In athletics, the Board approved a recommendation from the Middle and High Schools Committee to begin hosting regional championships beginning in the 2022-23 school year.
• In wrestling, the Board approved a recommendation from the College and High School Committee to add weights of 215 pounds, 245 pounds and heavyweights, with the heavyweight class not to exceed 285 pounds.
• As part of the competition, the Board approved a recommendation from the Girls’ Competition Committee to allow middle and high school teams to perform a one leg push-up as part of a pyramid with an armbar. A freedom flair is the only flair allowed, and this pyramid requires two points of armband contact.
• The Board approved the seven-year schedule of MHSAA tournament events, with notable changes to basketball for two years. For the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years, the boys’ basketball tournament will be completed first, followed by the girls’ basketball tournament – a change from the traditional order of girls’ tournament finals followed by boys finals. This will allow flexibility in the event that Michigan State University is selected to host the first and second round games of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Breslin Center.
The Board also reviewed membership reports, with 750 high schools and 759 middle/middle schools in 2021-22 plus 62 elementary schools with Grade 6 attendance; cooperative programs, with 378 high school programs for 699 teams in 2021-22; requests for advancement of eligibility, which totaled zero for the second consecutive school year; the use of educational transfer forms, of which there were 142; school infractions, attendance at athletic director continuing education workshops and coaching advancement program sessions; officials’ registrations, attendance at rule meetings and officials’ reports submitted for the last three sports seasons. The Association’s $12.8 million budget for the 2022-2023 school year was also approved.
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