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 Accepting Student Advisory Council Applications for Class of 2026

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

April 11, 2024

The Michigan High School Athletic Association is seeking student-athletes to become members of its Student Advisory Council beginning with the 2024-25 school year.

Four boys and four girls from the Class of 2026 will be selected to two-year terms, and will meet on matters related to maintaining and promoting a proper perspective and sensible scope for high school sports in Michigan. Eight members from the Class of 2025 already are serving on the Council, while eight members from the Class of 2024 are leaving the Council this spring.

To be eligible for the committee, candidates must be a member of the Class of 2026, complete the official application including answering the three short-answer questions, submit a letter of recommendation from a school administrator, have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and be available for all scheduled meetings.

In addition, candidates should show a history of leadership on athletic teams as well as with other extracurricular activities, community service projects, or in the workplace; and show an understanding of the role of school sports and have ideas for promoting a proper perspective for educational athletics.

Applications are due to the MHSAA by 4:30 p.m. on April 22. Applications can be downloaded from the Student Advisory Council page of the MHSAA Website and must be returned via e-mail, fax or any mail delivery service

The Student Advisory Council meets six times each school year, and once more for a 24-hour leadership camp. In addition to assisting in the promotion of the educational value of interscholastic athletics, the Council discusses issues dealing with the 4 S’s of educational athletics: scholarship, sportsmanship, safety (including health and nutrition) and the sensible scope of athletic programs. A fifth S – student leadership – is also a common topic. Members contribute to the planning of Sportsmanship Summits, Captains Clinics and other student leadership events, and assist with medal ceremonies at MHSAA championship events.

Newly-chosen members will join the following from the Class of 2025: Cale Bell, Sault Ste. Marie; Drew Cady, Oxford; Macy Jenkins, Milford; Isaiah Kabban, Harbor Beach; Ella Knudsen, Leland; Kaylee Kranz, Clinton; Joey Spada, Kalamazoo Central; and Aynalem Zoet, Grandville Calvin Christian.

The eight new members of the Student Advisory Council will be notified by May 3. The 2024-25 meetings are tentatively scheduled for Aug. 25, Oct. 6, Dec. 8, Feb. 16 and April 27, in addition to the leadership camp June 18-19 and with a May 2025 meeting still to be scheduled.  Meetings will take place at the MHSAA Office in East Lansing, For additional information, contact Andy Frushour at the MHSAA at (517) 332-5046 or [email protected].