The 2012-13 Fall sports season officially begins next week, when approximately 110,000 student-athletes begin practice in eight sports in which Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.
Practice sessions begin Monday in football, followed by all other sports on Wednesday (Aug. 8). Practice in football must begin Monday for all schools wishing to begin regular-season games the weekend of Aug. 23-26. Schools must have 12 days of preseason practice at all levels before their first games, which may not occur before 16 calendar days. All football schools also must 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 Aug. 15. In all other fall sports, contests can take place after seven days of practice for the team and not before nine calendar days. The first day competition may take place in cross country, soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball this fall is Aug.17.
This year, two football dates precede Labor Day, and Thursday varsity games will take place both weeks. Subvarsity competition may begin on Wednesday, Aug. 22. In Week 1, 81 games will be played on Thursday, 222 contests will be played on Friday and 23 games will be played on Saturday. The following weekend, 239 games will be played on Thursday, 67 games will be played on Friday and five games will be played on Saturday.
There are several significant rules changes on football for 2012:
On passing plays, a receiver must first contact and establish control of the ball while inbounds – regardless of the opponent’s action. In other words, a catch cannot be ruled on plays where the receiver may have come down in bounds if not for the action of the defender.
If a player’s helmet comes off during a play, and did not occur as a result of a foul by the opponent, that player must leave the game for one play, unless it happens on the final play of a half or an overtime.
Hand contact by a blocker below the waist of a defender is now considered blocking below the waist.
The kicking team may not contact a member of receiving team on a kickoff until the ball has traveled 10 yards, or unless a member of the receiving team initiates the contact.
Jerseys of the visiting team must be white in color, and home jerseys are restricted in the use of white for varsity competition. This was a rule change made in 2007 for implementation this season.
In soccer, Michigan will not participate in a National Federation rules change this year involving the disqualification from a game when a player receives a second yellow card and the subsequent red card. In Michigan, the player will still be ejected from the contest, but that team will not continue the game a player down.
The penalty for a hand ball by a player other than the goalkeeper to prevent a score has been changed. If the goal is prevented, the penalty remains a disqualification of the player; however, if the goal is scored, the penalty will now be a caution to the player who deliberately handled the ball.
There are no substantial rules change in other fall sports.
The 2012 Fall campaign culminates with postseason tournaments beginning with the Upper Peninsula Girls Tennis Finals the week of Oct. 1, and wraps up with the Football Playoff Finals on Nov. 23-24. Here is a complete list of fall tournament dates:
U.P. Finals -- Oct. 20
L.P. Regionals -- Oct. 26 or 27
L.P. Finals -- Nov. 3
Selection Sunday - Oct. 21
Pre-Districts – Oct. 26 or 27
District Finals -- Nov. 2 or 3
Regional Finals -- Nov. 9 or 10
Semifinals -- Nov. 17
Finals -- Nov. 23-24
Selection Sunday - Oct. 21
Regional Semifinals – Oct. 26 or 27
Regional Finals -- Nov. 3
Semifinals -- Nov. 10
Finals -- Nov. 16
L.P. Girls Golf:
Regionals -- Oct. 10 or 11 or 12 or 13
Finals -- Oct. 19-20
Boys L.P. Districts -- Oct. 15-20
Boys L.P. Regionals – Oct. 23-27
Boys L.P. Semifinals – Oct. 31
Boys L.P. Finals -- Nov. 3
L.P. Girls Swimming & Diving
Diving Quals -- Nov. 13
Swimming/Diving Finals-Nov. 16-17
U.P. Girls Finals –Oct. 3 or 4 or 5 or 6
L.P. Boys Regionals -- Oct. 11 or 12 or 13
L.P. Finals --Oct. 19-20
Districts –Oct 29-Nov. 3
Regionals – Nov. 6 & 8
Quarterfinals – Nov. 13
Semifinals – Nov. 15-16
Finals – Nov. 17
With the first girls basketball games, wrestling matches and ski races joining the event schedule this week, an estimated 65,000 athletes will be competing across the 13 sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.
Girls basketball tipped off Monday, Dec. 4, and the first boys and girls wrestling meets may take place Wednesday, Dec. 6. The first girls and boys ski races may begin Saturday, Dec. 9, when they will join competition already underway in boys basketball, girls and boys bowling, girls competitive cheer, girls gymnastics, boys ice hockey, Upper Peninsula girls swimming & diving, and boys swimming & diving across both peninsulas.
The MHSAA winter schedule concludes this 2023-24 school year with the Girls Basketball Finals on March 23. This will be the first time since 2018-19 that the girls basketball tournament will finish the winter season, a switch made necessary by the start of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament March 22-23 and the possibility Michigan State University could host first-round games at the Breslin Center, where the MHSAA plays both its girls and boys basketball Semifinals and Finals.
Three more sports will incorporate changes this season related to MHSAA Tournament format or qualification.
For girls and boys bowling, Regionals will be conducted at eight sites – instead of the previous six – with each site qualifying to Finals its top two team finishers and the top seven singles for both girls and boys competitions. For the Team Bowling Finals, match play has been switched to a head-to-head, best-of-five Baker game format, whereas previously the format included regular games rolled by individual bowlers.
In girls gymnastics, an addition to criteria is expected to classify gymnasts more accurately as Division 1 (most skilled/experienced) or Division 2 for MHSAA Tournament individual competition. Athletes who have previously competed in a non-school event at either the Sapphire or Diamond Xcel levels would be required to compete at the Division 1 level for MHSAA postseason competition. These designations were added to other criteria used to determine an individual competitor’s division.
A change that led to much larger event fields at the Lower Peninsula Girls Swimming & Diving Finals this fall is expected to produce the same at the LP Boys Swimming & Diving Finals this winter. Beginning this season, qualifying times have been determined based on the past five years of MHSAA race data, but also accounting for past numbers of qualifiers in each swim race – which should, as with the girls, allow for more boys to advance to the Finals in events where fields have not been full over the previous five seasons.
Additionally, the Competitive Cheer Finals will return to its traditional Friday-Saturday schedule, March 1-2 at McGuirk Arena at Central Michigan University, with Division 1 on Friday and Divisions 2-4 on Saturday.
This regular season, wrestlers have two more opportunities to compete. Teams are allowed two more dual meets (between two teams only, not to be converted into three or four-team meets), bringing the total allowed days of competition to 16 with no more than eight of those allowed for tournament-type events where a wrestler competes more than twice.
At those tournament-type events, wrestlers may now compete in up to six matches on one day of competition (as opposed to the previous five matches per day) – but an athlete may not wrestle in more than 10 matches over two consecutive days.
An adjustment to the awarding of free throws in basketball is likely to be the most noticeable in-game change for any winter sport this season. One-and-one free throws have been eliminated, and fouls no longer will be totaled per half. Instead, fouls are totaled and reset every quarter, and two free throws are awarded with the fifth foul of each quarter.
The 2023-24 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 17 and wraps up with the Girls Basketball Finals on March 23. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:
Districts – Feb. 26, 28, March 1
Regionals – March 5, 7
Quarterfinals – March 12
Semifinals – March 14-15
Finals – March 16
Districts – March 4, 6, 8
Regionals – March 11, 13
Quarterfinals – March 19
Semifinals – March 21-22
Finals – March 23
Regionals – Feb. 23-24
Finals – March 1-2
Districts – Feb. 16-17
Regionals – Feb. 24
Finals – March 1-2
Regionals – March 2
Finals – March 8-9
Regionals – Feb. 19-28
Quarterfinals – March 2
Semifinals – March 7-8
Finals – March 9
Regionals – Feb. 12-16
Finals – Feb. 26
Swimming & Diving
Upper Peninsula Girls/Boys Finals – Feb. 17
Lower Peninsula Boys Diving Regionals – Feb. 29
Lower Peninsula Boys Finals – March 8-9
Wrestling – Team
Districts – Feb. 7-8
Regionals – Feb. 14
Finals – Feb. 23-24
Wrestling – Individual
Districts – Feb. 10
Boys Regionals – Feb. 17
Girls Regionals – Feb. 18
Finals – March 1-2
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 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 more than 1.4 million spectators each year.