[Back to News]

Contact: John Johnson or Mike Clifford-- 517.332.5046

Fall Sports Season Ready To Start;
Rules Changes Announced In Basketball, Football & Soccer

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- July 28 - The month of August signals the beginning of the upcoming school year, including the beginning of another fall sports season for nearly a quarter of a million young student-athletes who will be participating in the eight sports sponsored by member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Football practices will begin on August 9 for all schools wishing to begin their season on the weekend of August 26-27-28. The regular season begins a week earlier for those schools wishing to play a 9-game schedule because of the additional week added to the MHSAA Football Playoffs. However, the change in the schedule means that practice begins only 2 days earlier than it would have without the playoff expansion. All football schools must conduct three required conditioning days of practice before beginning contact. Conditioning sessions may not include any pads.

The remaining fall sports begin their practice schedules on August 16, and all but three sports can start competition that day. The first game date for boys soccer is August 27, girls swimming and diving may open activity on August 28, and girls basketball begins on August 30.

Playing rules changes by the National Federation of State High School Associations are few for the upcoming season. In football, the team box may now extend to the 25-yard line on each end of the field; and provides that players no longer will be downfield illegally if, for example, on a screen pass the ball goes beyond the line of scrimmage because it is deflected by the defensive team. The rule regarding eye shields was edited to read that such shields must be clear. In basketball, the most notable rules changes are visual - the numbers 1 and 2 have been added to the list of legal numbers used on jerseys; and the restriction regarding the use of a commemorative/memorial patch on the jersey has been deleted from the rules. In soccer, the uniform rule has been clarified to note that stockings will be a single dominate color in time for the 2000-01 school year; and that once in possession/control of the ball, the goalkeeper may no longer hold the ball for more than 5 seconds.

The 1999 fall campaign culminates with championships beginning with the Upper Peninsula finals in girls tennis on October 8 and wraps up with the girls basketball finals on December 4.
Here is a complete list of fall championship dates:

· Girls Basketball: Districts -- Nov. 15-20
Regionals -- Nov. 22-24
Finals - Nov. 30, Dec. 2-4

· Cross Country: U.P. Finals -- Oct. 23
L.P. Regionals -- Oct. 30
L.P. Finals -- Nov. 6

· Football: Pre-Districts - Oct. 29 or 30
District Finals -- Nov. 5 or 6
Regional Finals -- Nov. 12 or 13
Semifinals -- Nov. 20
Finals -- Nov. 26-27

· L.P. Boys Golf: Regionals -- Oct. 8 or 9
Finals -- Oct. 15-16

· Boys Soccer: Districts -- Oct. 25-30
Regionals - Nov. 2-6
Semifinals -- Nov. 10
Finals -- Nov. 13

· L.P. Girls Swimming/Diving: Diving Quals -- Nov. 16
Finals -- Nov. 19-20

· Girls Tennis: U.P. Finals -- Oct. 8
L.P. Regionals -- Oct. 8-9
L.P. Finals --Oct. 15-16

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,300 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 conducted in 12 sports for girls and 12 sports for boys which attract approximately 1.3 million spectators each year.