Brush Up on the New Transfer Rule

July 18, 2019

By Rob Kaminski
MHSAA benchmarks editor

Eligibility under the new “sport-specific” transfer rule begins this coming fall after circulating extensively for nearly one school year.

Unless one of the stated 15 exceptions is met, participation during the 2018-19 school year determines eligibility for 2019-20.

The new rule adopted by the Representative Council at its May 2018 meeting has found support among most audiences. A transfer student’s eligibility in 2019-20 is based upon that student’s participation from this past school year (2018-19). It will be paramount for administrators and coaches to have awareness of the sports a transfer student participated in during the previous school year.

The long-standing 15 Exceptions to immediate eligibility, such as a full and complete residential change or a student moving between divorced parents by completing of an Educational Transfer Form, did not change.

One might call the rule on the way out “The Fourth-Friday Transfer Rule.” Under this old rule, when a student enrolled at the new school determined his or her eligibility. Under the new Sport Specific Transfer rule, what a student played in the previous season determines eligibility.

The Council passed a more lenient rule on the one hand and more restrictive on the other. The more lenient aspect is a change that finds a transfer student ELIGIBLE in any sport in which he or she did not participate in a game or a scrimmage in the previous school year.

The more restrictive portion tends to discourage students who change schools for sports reasons. A transfer student who did play a sport in the previous season – and who does not meet one of the 15 Exceptions – is NOT ELIGIBLE in that sport for the next season. If a student changes schools in mid-season, the student would be ineligible for the rest of that season in that sport and the next season for that sport.

Participation under this and other rules means playing in an interscholastic game or scrimmage after starting the 9th grade at any high school. It does not mean practice, but entering an interscholastic game, meet or scrimmage in any way. It also may involve more than one sport, so a three-sport athlete who does not have a residential change and transfers would be ineligible in those sports during the next school year – but eligible for any other sport. It also means a student cut from a team – one who never entered a scrimmage or game – may transfer and play without delay for that new school’s team. It may also mean that a student who meets one of the stated exceptions such as a residential change but enrolls in a school other than her or his school of residence, would have eligibility in sports not played in the previous year.

The new rule will tend to discourage students from changing schools for sports because they would be ineligible in any sport they have played in school the previous season for that sport. It will increase participation for some students who were otherwise not eligible under the current rule.

It is always best to contact school athletic directors who can connect with the MHSAA to verify eligibility prior to enrollment.

If the student’s new school requests in writing, the MHSAA Executive Committee may approve a waiver that reduces the period of ineligibility to 90 scheduled school days at the new school if the change of schools was for compelling reasons demonstrated with outside documentation having nothing to do with sports, curriculum, finances, and school demographics. The Executives Committee also has authority to approve immediate eligibility.

Parking, Entrance Protocols Announced For 2023 11-Player Football Finals at Ford Field

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

November 19, 2023

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.
*  Fireworks 
*  Flashlights

*  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)
*  Weapons 
*  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.