Rep Council Wrap-Up: Fall 2015

December 14, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Results of recent changes to health and safety policies and possibilities for future work to help keep school sports safe were main topics of discussion by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its annual Fall Meeting on Dec. 4 in East Lansing.

Generally, Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and actions during its meetings in winter and spring. The Council heard reports on a number of subjects, chiefly the “4 H’s” of health and safety – Health Histories, Heads, Heat and Hearts – and the MHSAA’s recent work on these topics.

Among data most noteworthy, it was reported that 747 of 750 member high schools complied with the first-time requirement this fall that all head coaches have a valid certification in CPR. Eighty percent of high schools arranged in-person CPR training for all of their high school varsity head coaches, and two-thirds of high schools included assistant and subvarsity coaches in school-arranged in-person training.

The Council reviewed the preliminary concussion care data released to the public Dec. 9, recent actions by U.S. Soccer to reduce heading in youth soccer, discussion in the girls lacrosse community regarding head protection and actions taken by other states and the National Federation of State High School Association regarding football practice policies and their similarities to changes adopted for MHSAA schools prior to the 2014 season. Council members also examined results from this fall’s Update Meeting opinion poll, including questions related to the possibility of using electronic forms to track students’ health histories and the possibility of practice limitations for all sports similar to those adopted for football.

As a result of the recent amendment of the MHSAA Constitution allowing for membership at the 6th-grade level, a number of potential changes to the MHSAA Handbook necessitated by the amendment were presented to the Council, as was a draft of an updated 2016-17 Membership Resolution. Both are expected to be voted on at the March meeting.

The Council also received reports on athletic-motivated and athletic-related transfers, reviewed an updated list of Approved International Student Programs for 2015-16 and discussed concerns regarding the exception to the Transfer Regulation for residential students of boarding schools.

Changes to out-of-season coaching rules were among the most significant efforts taken up by MHSAA staff over the last year, and Council members shared their observations of the impacts of changes including the rule change that allows a school coach to work with up to four athletes at one time instead of the previous three. The Council discussed if the MHSAA should consider a policy requiring in all sports athletes to participate in a minimum number of contests against school teams to be eligible for MHSAA tournaments, but declined to take action on the topic beyond policies already in place for skiing, ice hockey and soccer. Council members also were presented with examples of calendars for a balanced school year and possible movement of standardized testing dates, which both have the potential to affect the school sports calendar in the future.

The Council voted on one matter concerning MHSAA tournaments, approving a recommendation by the Girls Lacrosse Committee to not accept the new overtime rule of U.S. Women’s Lacrosse that grants in tournament play sudden victory to the first team that scores. The MHSAA will retain its current overtime procedure for tournament games, which calls for two full 3-minute halves of stop-clock overtime – and, if the game remains tied after those first two halves – additional 3-minute overtime periods with sudden victory.

The Fall Meeting also saw the addition of Courtney Hawkins, athletic director at Flint Beecher High School, to the 19-person Council. He was appointed to a two-year term and also serves as his school’s varsity football coach. He fills the position formerly held by Maureen Klocke, athletic director at Yale High School, whose term ended. Also, Cheri Meier, principal at Ionia Middle School, was re-appointed for a second two-year term.

The Council re-elected Scott Grimes, assistant superintendent of human services for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; Benton Harbor athletic director Fred Smith was re-elected vice president and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, was re-elected 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 1,400 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.

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.