The May meeting of the MHSAA Representative Council is usually the one that produces the most action leading to the most change in Michigan school sports. This year, however, the Council could skip this meeting entirely, and still school sports would be in for the greatest number of significant positive changes that we have ever seen over any previous two- to three-year period.
In the area of health and safety, schools will be in the second year of the “Model Policy for Managing Heat & Humidity” adopted in March of 2013 and the first year of new Football Practice Policies adopted in March of 2014. The practice policies lengthen the early season acclimatization period from three days to four and reduce collision practices to one per day prior to the first game and to two per week thereafter.
This fall, the first of three enhancements to the health and safety preparation of coaches takes effect. All high school assistant and subvarsity coaches must complete a rules and risk management requirement similar to high school varsity head coaches. In the fall of 2015, all high school varsity head coaches must be CPR certified. In the fall of 2016, all first-time high school varsity head coaches must have completed the MHSAA’s Coaches Advancement Program Level 1 or 2.
This fall brings two big changes in the transfer regulation. The athletic-related transfer rule adopted in 2013 takes full effect Aug. 1, 2014, as do rules that remove different treatment of J-1 and F-1 visa students and the disparate impact of Federal laws on public and nonpublic schools with respect to F-1 students.
Meanwhile, the MHSAA has already committed all of 2014 to a comprehensive examination of some very large junior high/middle school issues (e.g., should we be including younger grades and should there be Regional tournaments); while during the second half of 2014, there will be new looks at out-of-season coaching rules and broader application of “subvarsity” level opportunities to transfer and international students.
Even if the Representative Council makes no changes at its May 4 and 5 meetings, the fall of 2014 will be the busiest I’ve been a part of in 29 years.