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Representative Council Supports Football Playoff Expansion;
Plans To Be Developed For Consideration At Fall Meeting

THOMPSONVILLE, Mich.-- The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association went on record today as favoring expansion of the organization's Football Playoffs to include additional schools. The action was taken during the Council's major legislative session of the year which concluded here this morning.

In responding to a recent survey of member school superintendents and principals in which 72 percent of 520 responses indicated a desire to expand the 128-team football playoff field, the Council directed the MHSAA staff to develop plans and rationale for expansion for consideration at its next meeting, December 2, at Acme.

The Council rejected an expansion proposal which would have qualified 516 schools for the playoffs, dubbed "Proposal 16." In its discussion of football playoff expansion, it also considered statistics from the survey which indicated that feelings were split as to how to expand the tournament. Only 40 percent of the superintendents and principals surveyed favored starting the regular season a week earlier; and only 50.5 percent favored using the ninth week of the season as a playoff game. Previous playoff expansions have been accomplished without changing the regular-season calendar.

"We expect to involve a lot of people as playoff plans are developed for the Council's consideration," said John E. "Jack" Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. "We may conduct some additional surveys, and provide all levels of the membership continuing input."

In additional action, the Representative Council delayed by one week the beginning of practice for Spring sports beginning in 1999; and ordered surveys of the membership regarding potential tournament schedule changes in girls soccer, and track and field.

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 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 boys and 12 sports for girls which attract approximately 1.3 million spectators each year.