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Representative Council Adds Lacrosse To Postseason Tournament Schedule In 2004-05; Mercy Rule Added & Officiating Crews Expanded in Basketball

GAYLORD, Mich. – May 6 – The number of postseason tournaments sponsored by the Michigan High School Athletic Association will increase to 28 in 2004-05, as lacrosse was added in a vote taken by the legislative body of the organization, the Representative Council, at its annual spring meeting which concluded here Tuesday.

By being added to the spring sports season schedule with separate girls and boys tournaments, the MHSAA will have 14 championships for girls and 14 for boys, beginning in 2004-05. Bowling was added by the Council back in December, which will debut next year.

By the time of the first MHSAA conducted postseason tournament two years from now, sponsorship of lacrosse as an interscholastic sport by member schools will likely exceed the 64 school minimum for consideration of MHSAA postseason tournaments. Currently, there are over 60 schools represented in a statewide lacrosse league participating in the spring.

Details about the administration of the sport will be announced at a future date. It is anticipated that there would be at least a Regional level of competition prior to the postseason tournament Finals, and that the calendar would coincide with existing spring sports which end in an MHSAA sponsored postseason tournament.

“In lacrosse, we have a sport which is primarily available to young people only through the school program – and we wouldn’t duplicate or overlap what’s generally available to youth in non-school sports programs,” said MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts. “There already exist National Federation rules for competition, and the lacrosse community in Michigan has long been desirous of having MHSAA involvement.”

As in the decision to add bowling at its December Representative Council meeting, the MHSAA utilized student interest surveys conducted in 1997-98 and 2001-02, its annual sports participation survey of member schools, and a follow-up survey in the summer of 2002 about sports in which the MHSAA does not currently offer postseason tournaments. An additional survey of member schools was taken following the December meeting to determine participation commitments in potential MHSAA postseason tournaments in girls field hockey, girls ice hockey, lacrosse and water polo.

The Council also took action on two basketball matters of note. In response to action by the National Federation of State High School Associations to allow a point-differential rule by state association adoption beginning in 2003-04, the Council reinstated the rule used successfully during the 1999-00, 2000-01 and 2001-02 school years on an experimental basis. The Council also voted to increase the number of officials used to work MHSAA postseason tournament games at the Regional level to three next year.

The point-differential rule for Michigan will be identical to what was used in 2001-02, and will be used at all levels of play. When a 40-point differential is reached at any time beginning in the second half, the clock will not stop with the following exceptions:
• Called time outs;
• Injuries;
• The end of a period, and;
• For the shooting of free throws in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter.

During the three-year experimental period, MHSAA member schools reported that the rule was used twice as often in girls play as in boys games. Schools also reported at a rate in excess of 80 percent that the rule was a positive one for the game.

Beginning next year, three-person officiating crews will be used at the Regional level of MHSAA postseason tournaments for boys and girls. Since the mid 1990’s, three-person crews have been working the Final level of the tournament.

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 spring meeting is usually the busiest of its three sessions each year. The Council considered a number of committee proposals and discussed a variety of eligibility and operational issues.

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, which attract approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.