Rep Council Wrap-Up: Fall 2016

December 12, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association took actions at its Fall Meeting on Dec. 2 in East Lansing that will affect baseball and Upper Peninsula golf teams this spring.

Generally, the 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. However, a rules change approved in baseball was required by the National Federation of State High School Associations before the start of the spring 2017 season, while the golf change is a result of multiple years of discussion concerning classifications for MHSAA Upper Peninsula Finals. 

Beginning this upcoming baseball season, pitchers will be required to follow a pitch count limit, instead of the previous rule that limited their innings based on the number of outs thrown. In July, the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee mandated that all states adopt a pitch count rule in an effort to further prevent pitcher arm injuries, effective with the 2016-17 school year. Pitchers will be allowed to throw a maximum of 105 pitches in one day; they will be required to rest three days if they throw more than 75. Pitchers must rest two days after throwing 51-75 pitches, one day after throwing 26-50, and will not be required to rest if they throw 25 or fewer pitches in one day. The MHSAA pitch count rule was the result of work by a task force made up of current and former coaches and administrators, including representatives of the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association. 

For Upper Peninsula Golf, both the girls and boys tournaments, the Council approved a change classifying participating schools into three equal divisions beginning in the spring of 2017. Previously, Class A, B and C schools were split evenly into Divisions 1 and 2, with Division 3 reserved for Class D schools. However, Class D had grown to include nearly twice as many participating schools as both Division 1 and 2, complicating tournament logistics. This proposal was advanced by the Upper Peninsula Athletic Committee. 

The Council also approved for the MHSAA’s Multi-Sport Participation Task Force to continue its work indefinitely beyond the end of 2016, and also approved possible expansion of the task force as it continues to work toward preparing strategies and specific tactics for the MHSAA, allied organizations and local schools and conferences to promote multi-sport participation by student-athletes. The task force has determined it must focus on educating students and parents on the benefits of multi-sport participation when students are at younger ages – as early as when they are attending elementary school – while providing service and support at the junior high/middle school level; both efforts aim to create an atmosphere promoting multi-sport participation that would carry on when students reach high school.

Results of efforts to grow junior high/middle school membership were reported, with 757 junior high/middle schools in the MHSAA’s membership for 2016-17, compared to 705 at the conclusion of the 2015-16 school year. Of those 757, there are 498 that have included sixth grade in their membership, as allowed this school year for the first time. The Council also heard reports related to the MHSAA’s “Defining & Defending Educational Athletics” mission, notably on a pair of efforts by the National Federation focused on enhancing participation, reducing risk, optimizing performance and spreading the positive message of educational athletics. In addition, the Council discussed results of a recent survey of officials who had left the avocation and their reasons why, with the hope of staff using that data as it works to recruit and retain officials.

The Council also began a discussion on the future of 8-player football, including its growth and potential tournament format modifications, and the potential effects on 11-player football. There were 52 8-player football teams in Michigan for the 2016 season, including four that were ineligible for postseason play because their enrollments were too high (only Class D schools are eligible for the playoffs in the 8-player format). Discussions will continue with the MHSAA Classification Committee and Football Committee and at the League Leadership meeting before returning to the Council’s agenda. 
The Fall Meeting saw the addition of Vicky Groat, principal and athletic director at Battle Creek St. Philip High School, to the 19-person Council. She was appointed to a two-year term. She also serves as her school’s varsity volleyball coach. Groat fills the position formerly held by Orlando Medina, athletic director at Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse High School, whose term ended. Also, Pat Watson, principal at West Bloomfield High 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.