EAST LANSING — A host of rules changes adopted by the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Representative Council this week creates big impacts in hockey, basketball, soccer and skiing in particular.
The most obvious changes some in hockey, basketball and soccer, where seeding was altered.
Basketball and soccer districts seeding will now give byes to the top two seeds. Hockey regionals also now become seeded and will abide by the same rules guaranteeing the top two seeds byes. The remained of each bracket is randomly drawn.
For hockey, regional brackets get drawn up 15 days before postseason play begins and employs the same MPR computer formula currently used by basketball. Coaches and staff will be required to wear certified helmets during practice.
Schools can waive the annual summer dead week this year.
Alpine skiers who qualify for an MHSAA final in one discipline — giant slalom or slalom — during regional racing get to compete in both disciplines at the finals.
The MHSAA eased restrictions on the number of quarters a player may participate in per week, allowing athletes to play for both varsity and sub-varsity level simultaneously.
Football players can play in five quarters per week (only four per day), and basketball players can compete in five quarters per day, but no more than three dates per week and 20 dates a season.
The requirement for a physical is waived for those athletes who received one last year, although athletes are still required to fill out and sign the MHSAA Annual Sports Health Questionnaire.
The council allowed athletic directors to request a waiver for student athletes to wear competition uniforms to school-sponsored events recognizing this year’s senior class.
Teams in sports governed by MHSAA summer competition limits — basketball, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer and girls volleyball — can participate against all opponents present at out-of-state summer events. Member schools must still abide by the MHSAA travel limit.
Other major changes:
- Coaches and athletes ejected from competition now are required to complete an online sportsmanship course from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) before returning to competition.
- A baseball committee recommendation for suspended-game policy was adopted stating that any game called before it reaches regulation, or when the score is tied, is suspended with play to pick up at a later time from that point. If both schools agree, a game called prior to regulation may be replayed in its entirety.
- The baseball “super regional” level of the postseason will be renamed the “quarterfinal” level, with trophies and medals presented to both regional champions after the day’s regional finals.
- The football running clock rule is extended to when a team leads its opponent by 50 points to both the first and second halves of a game; the 50-point running clock stops only for player injuries and previously was employed only during the second half. The 35-point running clock for the second half, with stoppages also for penalty enforcement, scoring plays and timeouts, remains in effect if the differential dips below 50 and until it reaches 50 points again.
- Girls and boys tennis are added to the group of sports that schools that can play as cooperative programs — with Executive Committee approval — if their combined enrollments do not exceed 3,500 students.