By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The selection of a new venue for its Team Wrestling Finals highlighted actions taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its annual Winter Meeting on March 27 in East Lansing.
The Team Wrestling Finals will be hosted by McGuirk Arena at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant for two years beginning with the 2016 tournament. The Team Wrestling Finals previously had been hosted by Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek since their inception in 1988.
McGuirk, formerly Rose Arena, is part of the CMU Events Center and reopened in 2010 after the facility underwent $22.5 million in renovations. McGuirk seats 4,867 fans for wrestling competitions, and the building also features adjacent practice areas that will be utilized by teams competing at the MHSAA Finals.
Rose Arena formerly served as host of the MHSAA Girls Basketball Finals from 1997-2003.
“We are grateful to the athletic directors, staff and volunteers whose time and energy factored heavily into creating and growing the Team Wrestling Finals at Kellogg Arena,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “The decision to move from Battle Creek was not an easy one. However, we believe Central Michigan University offers us a fantastic opportunity to continue growing one of our most popular championship events.”
The Representative Council also continued discussions on three issues which may require action at meetings later this calendar year.
Continuing its examination of athletics at the junior high/middle school level, the Council discussed recommendations submitted by the MHSAA’s Junior High/Middle School Committee, including one which may come up for vote at the Council’s May meeting. It is a request for a membership vote to amend the MHSAA Constitution to allow for school membership beginning at the 6th grade. If the Council approves, the amendment vote likely would occur in late October after another round of membership meetings.
The Council also continued its discussion of potential changes to out-of-season coaching rules and considered results of surveys taken during the MHSAA’s Update Meetings in the fall and by athletic directors and leaders of leagues and conferences during the late fall and winter. The major changes in rules that were proposed for discussion last summer have not gained traction with the MHSAA membership, but three modifications intended to give school coaches longer and more flexible contact with their student-athletes out of season during the school year will receive Council action in May.
Continuing its work regarding the eligibility of international students, the Council also approved that MHSAA staff continue reviewing school-operated international student programs for the purpose of granting students athletic eligibility at MHSAA schools. A proposal first approved at the March 2014 meeting granted the MHSAA authority to grant athletic eligibility to students placed through an Approved International Student Program that had not been accepted for listing by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), so long as that Approved International Student Program is not eligible for CSIET consideration and listing. CSIET will only review existing programs, but the MHSAA’s supplemental process will allow programs too new for the CSIET process to gain approval for 2015-16.
Those international students placed through an Approved International Student Program are eligible for a maximum of the first two consecutive semesters or three consecutive trimesters at any secondary school in the United States, after which the student is ineligible for interscholastic athletic competition at any MHSAA member school for the next academic year. International students who do not meet one of the residency exceptions recognized by the MHSAA or are not enrolled through an Approved International Student Program or CSIET-listed program may become eligible after one semester to participate at the subvarsity level only.
The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,400 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.
To provide for the convenience and safety of spectators attending the Michigan High School Athletic Association 11-Player Football Finals on Nov. 25 and 26 at Ford Field in Detroit, attendees are being advised of a variety of items related to transportation and security – including policies regarding parking, seating and types of bags allowed into the stadium.
Parking will be available in Ford Field facilities and lots to the east and north of the stadium and costs $8. A map identifying the designated Ford Field lots (4, 5 and 6) and parking deck can be found on the Football page under “Tracking the Tournament.” (There also are a number of privately-operated parking facilities close to Ford Field, but their pricing may differ.)
Fans also are advised that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Ford Field parking facilities and lots, and smoking – including use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers – is prohibited inside the stadium. Tailgating, including the setting up and use of grilling equipment, also is not allowed.
Tickets are priced at $20 and allow a fan to see all four games in a single day. Tickets are available for purchase at the door (cash or credit accepted), from participating schools, or online from Ford Field via Ticketmaster – links to order tickets both days also are on the MHSAA Website football page. Spectators leaving the stadium will be required to purchase another ticket for re-entry. Infants able to be held in arms will be admitted without charge for this event. There will not be a public Will Call window.
Spectators may enter Ford Field at Gates A & B. Upon arrival in the building, fans will find their designated seating areas on the South side of the field if their team is the designated home team for their contest and on the North side for the designated visiting team. Home teams this weekend are Belleville, Warren De La Salle Collegiate, Mason, Harper Woods, Corunna, Almont, Jackson Lumen Christi and Ottawa Lake Whiteford. Brightly-lit video boards above the seating areas will display the names of the participating teams each day, and fans should sit on the side of the stadium where they see their school’s name. For general fans, the entire lower bowl of Ford Field will be open for the event.
Security measures also will be in place to help assure spectator safety. Fans will be subject to metal detector screening, and Ford Field personnel reserve the right to request patrons open their coats, bags and other item-carrying vessels for visual inspection and deny entrance to individuals who do not cooperate. Spectators should remove cell phones, cameras, keys and other large metal objects before passing through the metal detectors.
Items which fans will be prohibited from bringing into the building include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, book bags, diaper bags, fanny packs, cinch bags, grocery & paper bags; duffle bags, computer bags or luggage of any kind.
* Aerosol cans (hairspray, mace, pepper spray, etc.)
* Animals (except service animals to aid guests with disabilities)
* Balloons (air or helium)
* Balls (beach balls, footballs, etc.)
* Banners or large flags
* Cameras with lenses longer than five inches or any detachable lens. Selfie Sticks also are prohibited.
* Chairs including folding chairs or stools
* Decals, stickers, confetti or glitter
* Drones and/or remote-controlled aircraft
* Electronic equipment including laptop computers, video recorders (hand-held video cameras are allowed), tripods and wearable video cameras including Go Pros.
* Food, beverages – including water – or liquids (cans, bottles, boxes, flasks, etc.)
* Illegal substances
* Knives, pocketknives, box cutters, scissors, etc.
* Laser pointers
* Marijuana including medically prescribed electronic accessories or paraphernalia associated with marijuana or illegal narcotics use.
* Markers (permanent) and/or paint
* Noisemaking devices (bells, horns, kazoos, whistles, etc.)
* Objects that can be used as missiles or projectiles (sticks, poles, bats, clubs, Frisbees, etc.)
* Strollers and infant car seats or carriers
* Umbrellas (large size)
* Wrapped gifts
The following items may be permitted after inspection:
* Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc or similar). An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at the Gate.
* Infant items in a clear bag (bottles and formula) only if accompanied by a child
* Binoculars and binoculars cases not exceeding 4½ inches by 6½ inches may be brought in via one of the clear plastic bag options.
* Cameras (lenses may not measure longer than five inches or be detachable, and no tripods or extension cords)
* Small radios (no larger than the size of a football and used with an earpiece)
* Small, compact umbrellas (must be placed securely under seat)
* Posters and signs without poles or sticks, or larger than what one person can hold.
* Tablets (iPads, Kindles, etc.)
* Seat cushions not exceeding 15 inches by 15 inches. Seat cushions also must not contain arm rests, zippers, pockets, flaps or metal backs.
The complete list of prohibited items can be found on the Detroit Lions website. Prohibited items that are discovered during security inspections at stadium entrances must be returned to the owner's vehicle or discarded. Items will not be held for later pickup.
Fans are reminded that all image taking (still and video) may be only for personal, non-commercial use.
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.