Fall Sports Practices Begin Next Week
August 3, 2018
By Geoff Kimmerly
Special for Second Half
More than 100,000 student-athletes will begin practices next week in nine sports in which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments, signaling the beginning of the 2018-19 Fall sports season.
Practice in football may begin Aug. 6 for all schools wishing to begin regular-season games the weekend of Aug. 23-25. Schools must have 12 days of preseason practice at all levels before their first game, over a period of 16 calendar days before the first kickoff.
Practice sessions for all other sports begin Wednesday (Aug. 8). 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 & diving, and volleyball is Aug. 17.
This fall, two football game dates again precede Labor Day, and a number of MHSAA schools will play their first varsity games Thursday, Aug. 23. In Week 1, 146 varsity games will be played on Thursday, 152 contests will be played Friday, and 12 games will be played Saturday. During the second week, one game will be played Wednesday, 245 games will take place Thursday, 62 will be played Friday, and one contest is scheduled for Saturday.
For fall sports, perhaps the most discussed change will concern MHSAA Tournament classification in volleyball. For the first time, volleyball teams are classified in four equal divisions instead of the traditional Class A-B-C-D. Class no longer will be used to organize the postseason for any sport, including girls and boys basketball in the winter. All other sports previously had switched from classes to divisions.
While most fall sports face at least minor rules changes this season, a few of the most noticeable adjustments in fall sports will come in football, volleyball, boys soccer and girls swimming & diving.
• In an effort to improve football pace of play by reducing re-kicks after a free or scrimmage kick (generally kickoffs or punts, respectively), an option has been added allowing the receiving team to accept a penalty and tack on the awarded yardage to the spot where the kick or punt return ended. This option incentivizes the receiving team to forgo a re-kick, and joins three other options after a penalty on the kicking team. The receiving team also may continue to accept a penalty from the previous spot and have the kicking team re-kick; and on kickoffs that travel out of bounds, the receiving team may continue to accept the ball and begin possession 25 yards from where the kickoff occurred or decline the penalty and begin possession where the kick flew out of bounds.
• Additionally for football, players who fail to properly wear required equipment or are missing required equipment during a down shall be replaced for one down rather than incur a yardage penalty. Previously, a penalty was assessed for delay of game in this scenario. If a player’s proper or legal equipment has become improperly worn through use and prompt repair is possible and does not cause a delay in game, that repair may be made without the player being replaced for the next down.
• A change in volleyball will allow teams to substitute for an injured/ill player prior to a replay; previously a replay would take place with no changes on the floor after the point was originally contested.
• Also in volleyball, with an eye on risk minimization, teams will be allowed to warm-up between sets only in their playing area and may not hit volleyballs over the net into the opponents’ playing area.
• For soccer – both boys this fall and girls in the spring – teams may continue to play up to two multi-team events every season, but beginning this fall a multi-team event can include two full 80-minute games the same day and still be counted as only one of a team’s 18 regular-season contests. Teams also may continue to play multi-team events with 30-minute halves and no more than 180 minutes total in one day (for example, three games with 30-minute halves) and call it just one contest of the 18.
• Another significant soccer change will switch the home team to wearing the dark uniform and the away team to wearing the white uniform. The change was made to allow home teams to wear their school colors – it does not require teams to purchase new uniforms, but only switches which team wears dark and which wears white.
• Also for soccer, a change has been made to the penalty when a player is whistled for denying the other team an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. If a player, in the penalty area, commits an infraction while attempting to play the ball, and that infraction results in a penalty kick, that offending player will receive a yellow card – previously this would have been a red card. If the player is not attempting to play the ball when an infraction is called in the penalty area that results in a penalty kick, the offending player still will receive a red card along with the opposing team being awarded the penalty kick.
• In swimming & diving regular-season competition, a pair of changes will provide more opportunities for divers. The diving event in dual, double-dual or other multi-team non-championship competition has been limited to six dives, but now may be expanded to an 11-dive competition – giving divers another opportunity to prepare for the 11-dive competitions at the MHSAA Qualification Meets and Finals levels. Also, while diving traditionally has been placed in the middle of the event order of a dual or other regular-season meet, it may now be conducted first, last or simultaneously with the swimming events. (Both require prior mutual consent by competing teams and officials.)
• Also in swimming & diving, visible 16.4-yard (or 15-meter) marks must be made visible on both sides of the pool deck to assist swimmers during competition.
The 2018 Fall campaign culminates with postseason tournaments beginning with the Upper Peninsula Girls Tennis Finals the week of Oct. 1 and wraps up with the 11-Player Football Playoff Finals on Nov. 23 and 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 Oct. 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 Oct. 27
Regional Finals – Nov. 2 or 3
Semifinals – Nov. 10
Finals – Nov. 17
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 Regionals – Nov. 8
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
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.
2023 Forsythe Award Celebrates Leinaar's 40 Years Dedicated to School Sports
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 8, 2023
Few people in Michigan have had a longer-lasting influence on the rules and policies of educational athletics than Frankfort’s Karen Leinaar, who has served in several roles locally, statewide and nationally over more than 40 years contributing to the school sports community.
Thank you, Bill Baker.
The longtime teacher, coach, principal and superintendent during a career that stretched across multiple schools – including Leinaar’s growing up, Delton Kellogg – made an impression on the standout multi-sport athlete before she graduated from high school in 1977. Baker’s philosophy and work led Leinaar to study education at Michigan State University and then brought her back as Delton’s athletic director to begin four decades of making the same impact on children in her hometown and eventually in hometowns all over Michigan and beyond.
Baker died in 2009, but not before continuing to mentor Leinaar through many good times and tough ones.
“The man had two daughters that I grew up with, his wife was a teacher, and he demonstrated to all of us – he never missed an event – that we were important to him. That even though we weren’t his kids, we were his kids and athletics was a way to help kids become better people – and for some kids it was the only thing that they had positive in their life,” Leinaar said. “And he made it known just to that individual kid how important their participation was and their involvement, and how that helped them become the person that they were.
“That to me was such an example of how to help people be good people, that I just took that role on.”
It’s a role in which she continues to serve. Leinaar began her career as an athletic administrator in 1982, and as the interim athletic director currently at Frankfort High School is serving her fifth district in that position. Since June 2019, she also has served as executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), the professional organization for school sports administrators in the state with a membership of nearly 700.
To recognize that longtime and continuing impact, Leinaar has been named the 2023 honoree for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Charles E. Forsythe Award.
The annual award is in its 46th year and named after former MHSAA Executive Director Charles E. Forsythe, the Association's first full-time and longest-serving chief executive. Forsythe Award recipients are selected each year by the MHSAA Representative Council, based on an individual's outstanding contributions to the interscholastic athletics community.
Leinaar also served 22 years on the MHSAA’s Representative Council and a four-year term from 2009-13 on the Board of Directors for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and just last week was named to the 2023 class of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Hall of Fame.
“It is impossible even to estimate the number of students, coaches, administrators and others who have been affected by the work Karen Leinaar has done to make school sports the best they can be – not only in her communities, but across Michigan and throughout the country,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “There are few who have equaled her dedication and her support and promotion of the ideals of school-based sports. She has always placed an emphasis on being in the room, on the field or at the arena, actively participating in her leadership roles, and our programs are better for it.”
Leinaar first served as athletic director at Delton Kellogg for nearly 17 years, from March 1982 through October 1998. She spent three years at Gaylord, then 8½ at Benzie Central before taking over at Bear Lake in November 2010 and spending the next decade organizing athletic programs for students in grades 5-12 before retiring in January 2021. She came out of retirement to return to the athletic director’s chair this past fall as interim AD at Frankfort. She has completed nearly four years as MIAAA executive director, moving into that position after previously serving nine years as an assistant to the executive.
Leinaar began her service on the Representative Council in Fall 1999 and completed her last term as a statewide at-large representative at the Fall 2021 meeting.
She has been honored several times for her contributions. She received the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998, a Citation from the NFHS in 2000, and she was named MIAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2001. She received an MHSAA’s Allen W. Bush Award in 2014 – recognition given for work done generally behind the scenes and with little attention.
“This is the top of the mountain, per se. This one does mean so much,” Leinaar said of the Forsythe Award. “The names that are associated with this over the years, I never thought I’d be put in that group.”
Leinaar remains a continuous source of support at a multitude of MHSAA championship events, and during her time on Council was one of the most frequent representatives handing out trophies and medals to champions and runners-up at Finals events. She began while athletic director at Delton Kellogg hosting the MHSAA Volleyball Finals in Class B and Class C and continues to assist with those championships now played at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
She also hosted Competitive Cheer Finals at Delton Kellogg in 1996 and 1997, Ski Finals while at Gaylord, and many more championship events across the Lower Peninsula. She continues to assist at the MHSAA’s Lower Peninsula Cross Country and Track & Field Finals.
After attending Delton Kellogg High School, Leinaar earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, health and recreation, with a minor in driver education, from MSU in 1982. She completed a master’s in athletic administration from Western Michigan University in 1994.
Leinaar has been a member for 40 years of both the MIAAA and NIAAA, and has served as chairperson of the MIAAA Annual Conference and awards chairperson for both the state and national bodies. She’s also served as chairperson of the MIAAA’s Exemplary Athletic Program.
Past recipients of the Charles E. Forsythe Award
1978 - Brick Fowler, Port Huron; Paul Smarks, Warren
1979 - Earl Messner, Reed City; Howard Beatty, Saginaw
1980 - Max Carey, Freesoil
1981 - Steven Sluka, Grand Haven; Samuel Madden, Detroit
1982 - Ernest Buckholz, Mt. Clemens; T. Arthur Treloar, Petoskey
1983 - Leroy Dues, Detroit; Richard Maher, Sturgis
1984 - William Hart, Marquette; Donald Stamats, Caro
1985 - John Cotton, Farmington; Robert James, Warren
1986 - William Robinson, Detroit; Irving Soderland, Norway
1987 - Jack Streidl, Plainwell; Wayne Hellenga, Decatur
1988 - Jack Johnson, Dearborn; Alan Williams, North Adams
1989 - Walter Bazylewicz, Berkley; Dennis Kiley, Jackson
1990 - Webster Morrison, Pickford; Herbert Quade, Benton Harbor
1991 - Clifford Buckmaster, Petoskey; Donald Domke, Northville
1992 - William Maskill, Kalamazoo; Thomas G. McShannock, Muskegon
1993 - Roy A. Allen Jr., Detroit; John Duncan, Cedarville
1994 - Kermit Ambrose, Royal Oak
1995 - Bob Perry, Lowell
1996 - Charles H. Jones, Royal Oak
1997 - Michael A. Foster, Richland; Robert G. Grimes, Battle Creek
1998 - Lofton C. Greene, River Rouge; Joseph J. Todey, Essexville
1999 - Bernie Larson, Battle Creek
2000 - Blake Hagman, Kalamazoo; Jerry Cvengros, Escanaba
2001 - Norm Johnson, Bangor; George Lovich, Canton
2002 - John Fundukian, Novi
2003 - Ken Semelsberger, Port Huron
2004 - Marco Marcet, Frankenmuth
2005 - Jim Feldkamp, Troy
2006 - Dan McShannock, Midland; Dail Prucka, Monroe
2007 - Keith Eldred, Williamston; Tom Hickman, Spring Lake
2008 - Jamie Gent, Haslett; William Newkirk, Sanford Meridian
2009 - Paul Ellinger, Cheboygan
2010 - Rudy Godefroidt, Hemlock; Mike Boyd, Waterford
2011 - Eric C. Federico, Trenton
2012 - Bill Mick, Midland
2013 - Jim Gilmore, Tecumseh; Dave Hutton, Grandville
2014 - Dan Flynn, Escanaba
2015 - Hugh Matson, Saginaw
2016 - Gary Hice, Petoskey; Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2017 - Chuck Nurek, Rochester Hills
2018 - Gary Ellis, Allegan
2019 - Jim Derocher, Negaunee; Fredrick J. Smith, Stevensville
2020 - Michael Garvey, Lawton
2021 - Leroy Hackley Jr., Byron Center; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2022 - Bruce Horsch, Houghton
PHOTOS (Top) Karen Leinaar, left, awards the 2022 Division 4 volleyball finalist trophy to Indian River Inland Lakes coach Nicole Moore. (Middle) Leinaar accepts the MHSAA's Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998.