Hoops, Hockey Prep for Playoff Changes

December 12, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The introduction of limited seeding at the District level for girls and boys basketball, and a shift in the postseason schedule for ice hockey, are among changes that will be noticed most this season by those who compete in and follow the 12 winter sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.

Girls basketball’s first games tipped off Dec. 2, followed by boys basketball openers Dec. 9. This winter, for the first time, the top two teams in every basketball District will be seeded and placed on the opposite sides of their bracket, making the District Final the earliest round they could play each other. Those top-seeded teams will be determined using the Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) computer formula based on regular-season results against other MHSAA Tournament-eligible teams and opponents’ strength of schedule. (Games against out-of-state or non-MHSAA opponents will not count in the MPR formula.)

The MHSAA will draw all brackets 15 days before the start of District play. After the top seeds are determined and separated to opposite sides of the bracket, the draw process will place the remaining teams on the bracket based on a randomly-selected order determined earlier in the season. MPR also was used to similarly seed Districts for boys soccer for the first time this past fall and in the spring for boys lacrosse.

Also undergoing a change this winter, the MHSAA Ice Hockey Tournament will be played over three weeks rather than two as in previous seasons. The traditional dates for the start of the regular season and Finals will remain the same, as will the total number of regular-season games allowed. However, the MHSAA Tournament will begin on the third Monday before the Finals instead of two weeks before, and the extended postseason schedule places the maximum of six games that may be played from the start of Regionals through Finals over 20 days instead of the previous 13.

While those changes will affect tournament structures, a handful of others affecting daily competition will be particularly noticeable as well this winter:

•  As with Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving season in the fall, a pair of changes for LP boys and Upper Peninsula girls will take effect this winter. For swimmers, the definition of a legal finish has changed to include a competitor touching any part of the finish end of the lane, not just the touch pad. In diving, the degree of difficulty was adjusted for back and reverse somersaults to provide consistency with difficulty of other dives.

•  In hockey, the allowed stick length for a non-goaltender has been extended to 65 inches with a blade no more than 12.5 inches long and between 2-3 inches high. The allowances for a goaltender’s stick also were adjusted – the widened portion up to 28 inches from the heel and to 3.5 inches in width, with a blade at maximum 15.5 inches in length. These changes were made to accommodate the greater average height of today’s athletes. 

•  In girls competitive cheer, non-braced static inversions will be allowed only with the following stipulations: the original base or spotter maintains constant contact with the flyer, prior to the static inverted position the flyer must originate from below shoulder level, and the inversion must dismount to the cheering surface, cradle, any waist-level position or a non-inverted stunt at shoulder level. Also, twists from inversions and inversions released to extended level are illegal.

•  A new rule in wrestling will allow for additional time to evaluate head and neck injuries. If an injury occurs involving the head, neck, cervical column and/or nervous system and an appropriate health care professional is present, that caregiver may request the traditional 90 seconds of injury time be extended up to a maximum of five minutes to evaluate the injury. Before that time expires, the wrestler must be ready and able to continue the match or it will be defaulted.

•  Also for wrestling, a new criteria has been added to the tie-breaking system used when a dual meet finishes in a tied score. The new sixth criteria “f” states that the team giving up the fewest forfeits during a match shall be declared the winner.

The 2019-20 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments beginning with Girls & Boys Skiing Regionals on Feb. 10, and wraps up with the Boys Basketball Finals on March 28. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Girls Basketball
Districts – March 2, 4 & 6
Regionals – March 10 & 12
Quarterfinals – March 17
Semifinals – March 19-20
Finals – March 21

Boys Basketball
Districts – March 9, 11 & 13
Regionals – March 16 & 18
Quarterfinals – March 24
Semifinals – March 26-27
Finals – March 28

Girls & Boys Bowling
Team Regionals – Feb. 28
Singles Regionals – Feb. 29
Team Finals – March 6
Singles Finals – March 7

Girls Competitive Cheer
Districts – Feb. 21-22
Regionals – Feb. 29
Finals: March 6-7

Girls Gymnastics
Regionals – March 7
Team Finals – March 13
Individual Finals – March 14

Ice Hockey
Regionals – Feb. 24-March 4
Quarterfinals – March 7
Semifinals – March 12-13
Finals – March 14

Girls and Boys Skiing
Regionals – Feb. 10-14
Finals – Feb. 24

Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving
U.P. Girls & Boys Finals – Feb. 15
L.P. Boys Diving Qualification Meets – March 5
L.P. Boys Finals – March 13-14

Team Districts – Feb. 12-13
Individual Districts – Feb. 15
Team Regionals – Feb. 19
Individual Regionals – Feb. 22
Team Quarterfinals – Feb. 28
Team Semifinals & Finals – Feb. 29
Individual Finals – March 6-7

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 25, 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 16-19 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.