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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Aug. 6 – Approximately 110,000 student-athletes in begin practice in eight sports in which Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors post-season tournaments next week, signaling the beginning of the 2013-14 Fall sports season.
Practice sessions begins on Monday (August 12) in football, followed by all other sports on Wednesday (August 14). Practice in football must begin on August 12 for all schools wishing to begin regular season games the weekend of August 29-31. Schools must have 12 days of preseason practice at all levels before their first game, which may not occur before 16 calendar days. All football schools must also conduct at least three days of practice before beginning contact, and those sessions may not include any pads.
In golf and tennis, competition may commence no earlier than after three separate days of team practice, and not before seven calendar days. The first day competition may take place in golf and tennis is August 21. In all other fall sports, contests can take place after seven days of practice for the team and not before 9 calendar days. The first day competition may take place in cross country, tennis, soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball in the fall is August 23.
This year, only one football date precedes Labor Day, and most varsity games will take place on Thursday, August 29, that week. Subvarsity competition may begin on Wednesday, August 28. In Week 1, 253 games will be played on Thursday, 74 contests will be played on Friday, and 12 games will be played on Saturday.
There are several significant rules changes on football for 2013:
- Pass interference no longer is an automatic first down if against the defense, or does it result in a loss of down if against the offense. Both are a 15-yard mark off from the previous spot, and the down is replayed except when the penalty against the defense results in a first down.
- If a player’s helmet comes off during a play, it is illegal participation and a 15-yard penalty if that player continues to participate in a play; and a personal foul and a 15-yard penalty if a player from the opposing team initiates contact with a player whose helmet has come off.
- On a catch, an airborne receiver whose forward progress is stopped and is carried out of bounds by a defender will be ruled a legal catch. If the airborne receiver is contacted and driven out of bounds, the result of the play is an incomplete pass.
- Following a penalty on the kicking team for kick catch interference on a fair catch play, the receiving team can opt to take a free kick after the 15-yard penalty has been enforced.
In soccer, Michigan has adopted the National Federation rule involving the disqualification from a game when a player receives a second yellow card and the subsequent red card. Now, in addition to the player being ejected from the contest, that team will have to continue the game a player down. A player receiving a yellow card must leave the game immediately, but now may reenter at the next available opportunity, and no longer have to sit out for 10 minutes. There are no substantial rules change in other fall sports.
The 2013 Fall campaign culminates with post-season tournaments beginning with the Upper Peninsula Girls Tennis Finals the week of Oct. 1, and wraps up with the Football Playoff Finals on November 29-30. Here is a complete list of fall tournament dates:
U.P. Finals -- Oct. 19
L.P. Regionals -- Oct. 25 or 26
L.P. Finals -- Nov. 2
Selection Sunday - Oct. 27
Pre-Districts – Nov. 1 or 2
District Finals -- Nov. 8 or 9
Regional Finals -- Nov. 15 or 16
Semifinals -- Nov. 23
Finals -- Nov. 29-30
Selection Sunday - Oct. 27
Regional Semifinals – Nov. 1 or 2
Regional Finals -- Nov. 8 or 9
Semifinals -- Nov. 16
Finals -- Nov. 22 or 23
L.P. Girls Golf:
Regionals -- Oct. 9 or 10 or 11 or 12
Finals -- Oct. 18-19
Boys L.P. Districts -- Oct. 14-19
Boys L.P. Regionals – Oct. 22-26
Boys L.P. Semifinals – Oct. 30
Boys L.P. Finals -- Nov. 2
L.P. Girls Swimming & Diving
Diving Quals -- Nov. 19
Swimming/Diving Finals-Nov. 22-23
U.P. Girls Finals – Oct. 2 or 3 or 4 or 5
L.P. Boys Regionals -- Oct. 10 or 11 or 12
L.P. Finals --Oct. 18-19
Districts – Nov. 4-9
Regionals – Nov. 12 & 14
Quarterfinals – Nov. 19
Semifinals – Nov. 21-22
Finals – Nov. 23
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,500 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.