Soccer, Cross Country, Track & Field Reclassification
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE --December 14, 1999
Contact: John Johnson or Andy Frushour-- 517.332.5046
At Fall Representative Council Meeting
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Dec. 14 - Reclassification
matters affecting soccer, cross country and track and field tournaments
were among the major actions taken by the Representative Council
of the Michigan High School Athletic Association at its Fall
meeting, Dec. 1, in Grand Rapids.
The 19-member legislative body of the Association's 1,300-plus
member schools meets three times annually to discuss and act
upon sport committee proposals, eligibility rules and procedural
In soccer, the Council voted to implement a 20 percent modification
for the classification of teams in those tournaments effective
in 2000-01, in an effort to reduce the enrollment range in the
smallest classification. Using the equal divisions concept this
year, schools of 489 students and under fall into Division 4
in boys soccer; and in girls soccer, it is 643 students and below.
If the 20 percent modification had been in place, Division 4
for boys would have been 432 students and below; for girls 578
and below. When this change takes affect in the 2000-01 school
year, there will be approximately 101 schools in the Division
1-3 tournaments for boys, and 76 in the Division 4 tournament.
For the girls soccer tournament, there will be approximately
84 schools in Divisions 1-3, and 63 in Division 4.
Since the expansion of the concept of equal divisions in some
MHSAA tournaments, there has been a concern raised by some Class
D schools regarding the enrollment range between the largest
and smallest school in the smallest division for some sports.
Last May, the Council went on record in favor of reducing the
enrollment range for the smallest schools' division in at least
some sports, and directed the MHSAA staff to prepare classification
modifications for at least some sports broken into equal divisions.
"We found that there is a need to monitor the enrollment
range as it relates to Class D schools. Factors such as the
type of sport - non-contact, contact, collision - needed to be
factored into the equation, as well as the players required for
each sport," said John E. "Jack" Roberts, MHSAA
Executive Director. "During our research into this matter,
we found that the number of students participating in soccer
from Class C to Class D schools differed significantly, especially
when you consider the number of athletes necessary to field a
team, and the collision nature of the sport. We looked at several
methods of reducing the enrollment range and found that the 20
percent modification was the best fit."
The Council also added Lower Peninsula track and field and cross
country to the growing list of MHSAA tournaments which utilize
equal divisions. Effective with the 2000 tournaments, equal
divisions will be utilized, with approximately 152 schools in
each division for track and field; approximately 139 schools
in each division for cross country.
"The proposal to reclassify track and field, as well as
cross country, had strong support of the committees for those
sports, as well as that of the classification committee and surveys
of the membership," Roberts said. The Council had voted
last May that if the equal divisions concept was adopted for
track and field, the change would occur without delay. Lower
Peninsula schools are being notified this week regarding the
divisions for the MHSAA Track & Field Tournament this Spring.
In addition, the Representative Council determined that the National
Federation authenticating Mark would not be required on any game
ball for any sport through the 2000-01 school year; heard the
results of the MHSAA task force on non-traditional schools and
students that reported that no additional opportunities for athletic
participation need to be promoted by the MHSAA; and adopted a
policy for leagues and conferences which do not have written
policies regarding late contest starting times.
The Council also appointed Melvin Atkins, director of athletics
for the Grand Rapids Public Schools; and Judy Raica, principal
at North Branch High School, to two-year terms on the board.
Honored for their service to the Representative Council were
retiring members Robert Grimes of Battle Creek and Geraldine
David of Gaylord. Selected as officers for the coming year were
Paul Ellinger, superintendent of Cheboygan Public Schools, as
president; Dennis Kniola, administrative assistant for Stevensville
Lakeshore Public Schools, as vice-president; and Tom Rashid,
director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese
of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer.
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 girls and 12 sports for boys which attract approximately
1.3 million spectators each year.