FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 25, 2007
Representative Council Approves Sportsmanship Measures,
EAST LANSING, Mich. – May 25 – Stiffer penalties for poor sportsmanship in ice hockey and soccer, the concept of game officials rating the sportsmanship of member schools, and a continued in-depth discussion of sports calendar issues were among items approved during the annual Spring Meeting of the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, May 6-8, in Gaylord.
The Spring meeting of the 19-member legislative body of the Association’s nearly 1,600 member schools is generally the busiest of its three sessions each year. The Council considered 62 committee proposals and also dealt with a variety of eligibility rule, post-season tournament and operational issues.
Effective in 2007-08, the penalties for player and coach game disqualifications in ice hockey will be at least double that of the minimums listed in the National Federation of State High School Associations Ice Hockey Rules Book, in an action taken by the Council to approve an Ice Hockey Committee proposal. The applicable Federation rule allows state associations to increase the number of subsequent games an individual must sit out after receiving a game disqualification. The base rule requires sitting out the remainder of that game, plus the next game after receiving a game disqualification; and progressively adds games with subsequent game disqualifications.
In Michigan, a game disqualification will now require an individual to sit the next two games after receiving the first game disqualification in a season; four games after receiving a second game disqualification; and the remainder of the season after receiving a third game disqualification. Coaches are already subject to MHSAA rules which prohibit them from coaching in the Association’s post-season tournament in their sport after their second ejection in a season for unsportsmanlike behavior; and players are prohibited from post-season tournament play upon their third such disqualification.
The Soccer Committee recommendation to increase the penalty for a player, coach or bench member receiving a simultaneous yellow and red card from a suspension for the remainder of that contest to include a next day of competition suspension was also approved by the Representative Council.
The Council approved in concept, a plan to have game officials rate schools whose games they work on their sportsmanship. For years, schools have been required to rate all of the officials who work their contests, and this feedback is used to help evaluate officials for tournament assignments. This program would not commence before the 2008-09 school year, and the Council will look at details at its fall meeting.
“Sportsmanship continues to be one of the things that separates educational athletics from other levels of sports by other sponsors, and it requires constant attention so that programming can be developed or changed as circumstances arise,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. “The ice hockey community feels that the most flagrant forms of poor sportsmanship deserve even stronger penalties, and the soccer committee is putting its sport on notice that a yellow-red card combination deserves a more lengthy suspension. Officials have been requesting the opportunity to evaluate schools for their sportsmanlike performance at contests, and as we develop that program, it will be with an eye towards continuing to promote the highest level of sportsmanship at our games.”
Since the beginning of the 2006-07 school year, work had been performed on a comprehensive proposal related to the sports calendar for potential distribution and discussion by the MHSAA membership during the fall of 2007. Among the objectives were to address the minimum number of practices before a team could begin competition and to reduce overlap between seasons. The project is in the second phase of an effort which saw the Council approve other measures intended to depressurize out-of-season periods for coaches and student-athletes.
With the recent court-ordered changes of season placement in some sports, the Council considered delaying the dissemination and discussion of the proposals, but eventually approved that the MHSAA lead such a discussion this fall, including the exploration of alternative scheduling mechanisms to keep Michigan’s participation rates high; and reporting the findings and recommendations of that work at its fall meeting.
“The Council had previously moved in a direction to help take pressure off coaches and students, implementing down times and dead periods and eliminating physical education classes which were nothing more than spring practices for fall sports,” Roberts said. “The calendar proposals also seek to eliminate stresses in school sports, and we now have the additional challenge of ensuring that we come up with the means to prevent the decline in athletic participation which has followed court-ordered schedule changes of sports in other states.”
Here is a summary of other actions taken at the Spring Representative Council Meeting:
Registered Officials Matters
The Council also reviewed reports on membership, with 762 senior high schools and 814 junior high/middle schools in 2006-07; eligibility advancement applications, which was down to 12 after three straight years of 16 such waivers; the use of Educational Transfer Forms, which was down slightly over the previous year; school violations, which were well below an average year; attendance at athletic director and coaches in-service workshops, which saw an increase again over the previous year’s totals; another 12,000-plus year for officials registration; the progress of criminal history checks on all officials; rules meeting attendance; and officials reports submitted for the past three sports seasons. The Association’s $8.4 million budget for the 2007-08 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.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by approximately 1,600 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.
AT&T, Farm Bureau Insurance, Henry Ford Health System and MEEMIC Insurance