Approximately 110,000 student-athletes begin practice next week in eight sports in which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments, signaling the beginning of the 2013-14 Fall sports season.
Practice sessions begin Monday (Aug. 12) in football, followed by all other sports Wednesday (Aug. 14). Practice in football must begin on Aug. 12 for all schools wishing to begin regular-season games the weekend of Aug. 29-31. Schools must have 12 days of preseason practice at all levels before their first game, 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. 21. 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, tennis, soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball in the fall is Aug. 23.
This year, only one football date precedes Labor Day, and most varsity games will take place on Thursday, Aug. 29, that week. Subvarsity competition may begin on Wednesday, Aug. 28. In Week 1, 253 games will be played on Thursday, 74 contests will be played on Friday, and 12 games will be played on Saturday.
There are several significant rules changes on football for 2013:
- Pass interference no longer is an automatic first down if against the defense, or results in a loss of down if against the offense. Both are a 15-yard mark-off from the previous spot, and the down is replayed except when the penalty against the defense results in a first down.
- If a player’s helmet comes off during a play, it is illegal participation and a 15-yard penalty if that player continues to participate in a play; and a personal foul and a 15-yard penalty if a player from the opposing team initiates contact with a player whose helmet has come off.
- On a catch, an airborne receiver whose forward progress is stopped and is carried out of bounds by a defender will be ruled a legal catch. If the airborne receiver is contacted and driven out of bounds, the result of the play is an incomplete pass.
- Following a penalty on the kicking team for kick catch interference on a fair catch play, the receiving team can opt to take a free kick after the 15-yard penalty has been enforced.
In soccer, Michigan has adopted the National Federation rule involving the disqualification from a game when a player receives a second yellow card and the subsequent red card. Now, in addition to the player being ejected from the contest, that team will have to continue the game a player down. A player receiving a yellow card must leave the game immediately, but now may reenter at the next available opportunity, and no longer have to sit out for 10 minutes. There are no substantial rules change in other fall sports.
The 2013 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. 29-30. Here is a complete list of fall tournament dates:
U.P. Finals -- Oct. 19
L.P. Regionals -- Oct. 25 or 26
L.P. Finals -- Nov. 2
Selection Sunday - Oct. 27
Pre-Districts – Nov. 1 or 2
District Finals -- Nov. 8 or 9
Regional Finals -- Nov. 15 or 16
Semifinals -- Nov. 23
Finals -- Nov. 29-30
Selection Sunday - Oct. 27
Regional Semifinals – Nov. 1 or 2
Regional Finals -- Nov. 8 or 9
Semifinals -- Nov. 16
Finals -- Nov. 22 or 23
L.P. Girls Golf:
Regionals -- Oct. 9 or 10 or 11 or 12
Finals -- Oct. 18-19
Boys L.P. Districts -- Oct. 14-19
Boys L.P. Regionals – Oct. 22-26
Boys L.P. Semifinals – Oct. 30
Boys L.P. Finals -- Nov. 2
L.P. Girls Swimming & Diving
Diving Quals -- Nov. 19
Swimming/Diving Finals-Nov. 22-23
U.P. Girls Finals –Oct. 2 or 3 or 4 or 5
L.P. Boys Regionals -- Oct. 10 or 11 or 12
L.P. Finals --Oct. 18-19
Districts – Nov. 4-9
Regionals – Nov. 12 & 14
Quarterfinals – Nov. 19
Semifinals – Nov. 21-22
Finals – Nov. 23
The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association began examining several topics during its Fall Meeting, Dec. 1 in East Lansing – including start and end dates of the winter calendar, possible new transfer rule exceptions and emerging sports – that will shape its work during the winter and spring meetings of this 2023-24 school year.
Generally, the Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and action during its meetings in March and May. The Council did take three actions this time as part of larger conversations expected to continue over the next six months.
The Council joined staff discussion on the start and end dates of winter seasons and the possibility of moving up both, which was among topics surveyed as part of the Update Meeting poll completed by administrators during the MHSAA’s annual presentations across the state this fall. Staff will prepare a recommendation for Council to review at a future meeting regarding the 2025-26 school year and beyond.
MHSAA staff also provided a variety of transfer rule issues encountered over the last year, and Council discussed the possibility of adding transfer rule exceptions related to military transfer families, fulltime school employee transfers and students returning from a sports academy or prep school and seeking immediate eligibility. The Council did adopt a change for multi-high school districts (with at least three high schools) that include both boundary and non-boundary schools that more clearly defined where students at those schools have immediate eligibility.
The Council also discussed possible new and emerging sports, including proposals for MHSAA sponsorship received by the water polo and field hockey governing bodies and an anticipated proposal to add boys volleyball to the MHSAA Tournament lineup.
Several more conversations regarded MHSAA postseasons:
- The Council reviewed the work of the Football Task Force and considered a staff recommendation to have the Football Committee in January discuss possibly capping enrollment of Division 8 11-player schools at 250 students to incentivize schools within that group to play 11-player instead of switching to 8-player.
- MHSAA staff have identified four areas requiring financial increases – MHSAA Tournament officials fees, host schools compensations, manager honorariums and team reimbursements for Finals participants – and the Council discussed the importance of including these when the MHSAA Audit & Finance Committee meets in February to begin the 2024-25 budgetary process.
- The Council also discussed recommendations from the MHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee addressing possible requirements of emergency action plans and AEDs at MHSAA Tournament sites.
The Fall Meeting saw the appointment of Wyoming Godfrey-Lee Schools superintendent Arnetta Thompson and Freeland Middle School principal Jennifer Thunberg to two-year terms to the 19-person Council, the first terms for both. The Council also reelected Scott Grimes, superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; Brighton High School athletic director John Thompson as its vice president, and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer.
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 1,500 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.