Summer Safety

August 28, 2012

As we have been considering changes for in-season football practice rules that are more in step with recent recommendations of the National Athletic Trainers Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Federation of State High School Associations, as well as the actions of several of our counterpart state organizations across the U.S., we have also been looking at the rules that apply out of season to assure they do not work against the preparation of students for a safe experience.

Except during the school’s designated summer dead period of at least seven consecutive days, football coaches may interact with any number of players in voluntary weight training and conditioning sessions as frequently as they desire.  Introduce footballs and helmets, and the coach can still work with any number of students on the sideline and up to seven players at a time for any number of days.  Add competition, and the coach can still work with up to seven players at a time for a maximum of seven days.  In addition, football coaches may participate for a maximum of ten days at bona fide football camps where any number of their players are participating.

Plenty of time for coaches to teach, and even more time for players to train.  During this time, the rules permit students to wear helmets, which protect against accidental collisions during drills; but the rules prohibit other pads that would allow activities to escalate to the point where contact is expected, leading to increased blows to the head at a time when the objective from the pros to Pop Warner is to reduce blows to the head.

When the brief preseason down time begins Aug. 1, the coach continues to be able to work with any number of players in conditioning and weight training.  The down time prohibits those activities that could be a disguise for practice prior to the earliest allowed practice date – open gyms, camps, clinics and competition.  The down time puts the emphasis where it’s most needed for a healthy student experience when practice actually begins:  that’s weight training and conditioning.

Some critics may focus on what they can’t do in the summer; but clearly, there’s much they can do, and it’s all designed to help players improve and excel in a safe environment.

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 27, 2023

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.

The one-day camps will take place between May 15-18 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.

Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.

“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”

Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.

All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.

“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.

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 1.3 million spectators each year.