Fewer but Bigger Changes
June 22, 2015
Accelerating a nearly decade-long trend, there was a sharp decline in the number of sport-specific proposals from MHSAA committees to the Representative Council during 2014-15 – in fact, the smallest number of recommendations for change in more than 30 years.
The dearth of proposals from some sports means all is well; however, for other sports, it only means that proposals to effect some major changes were not yet ready for prime time. For example, several sport communities are interested in seeding some aspects of their MHSAA tournaments, but they have a lot more work to do to draft the details and to develop broad support within their sport across Michigan.
The Representative Council has taken advantage of the repose to advance policies that extend across multiple sports and years. For example ...
- The three-year phase-in of additional health and safety requirements for coaches. The second step – CPR certification for all high school varsity head coaches – commences Aug. 1, 2015. The third step – that all high school varsity coaches hired for the first time in Michigan after July 31, 2016, complete the Coaches Advancement Program Level 1 or 2 – takes effect with the 2016-17 school year.
- The focus on concussion care in both practices and events of all levels of all sports. School year 2015-16 brings new reporting and recordkeeping requirements for member schools, as well as MHSAA-provided medical insurance protection for all eligible athletes, grades 7 through 12.
- Changing out-of-season coaching rules. While the membership didn’t rally toward a totally new approach during the past year’s discussions, consensus did coalesce around four substantive changes to the current approach to manage and monitor out-of-season coaching, which the Council approved to take effect in 2015-16.
- The proposed amendment to allow school membership in the MHSAA to begin with the 6th grade. Discussion on this topic resumed two years ago and it will continue through constituent meetings this summer and fall prior to the membership’s vote in late October. The change, if approved, would take effect Aug. 1, 2016.