The design of the rules involved in these matters is to allow students to compete on their own outside the high school season, without school connection or coordination, in events that are important to them, as long as they comply with amateur and awards rules and avoid certain kinds of all-star and national scope events.
The national events to be avoided are those that are called or are conducted as national high school championships which are opposed by a National Association of State Boards of Education Commission Report in 2004 and by the National Federation of State High School Associations, as well as by the Michigan Association of School Boards and the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals Association, all of whom have taken positions to the effect that competition beyond the state level is unnecessary and in opposition to the best interests of school-sponsored sports and the academic mission of schools.
Without rules that prohibit school support for out-of-season events and the use of school performances to qualify for non-school events, schools would find themselves in a costly arms war to "keep up with the Jones" that benefits the have's and hurts the have not's. The long-standing and widely supported rules involved here tend to contain run-away expenses for school athletics and promote competitive equity between schools.
If young people choose to participate beyond the state level, it must be without the involvement of their local schools and without connection to performances during the high school season:
- Graduated seniors may participate without restriction.
- Undergraduate student-athletes may participate if qualifying times, distances or heights are based on non-school events.
*Should an event accept times, heights, or distances that are not published from any meet during the school season or the MHSAA tournament then there is no violation.
This MHSAA policy (MHSAA Handbook Interpretation 169 b.) is long-standing and applies to all sports.