Rep Council Wrap-up: Fall 2019
December 16, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The adoption of an enhanced strength-of-schedule formula to determine 8-Player Football Playoff qualifiers beginning with the 2020 season was the most notable action taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its Fall Meeting on Dec. 6 in East Lansing.
Generally, the Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and action during its meetings in winter and spring. This Fall Meeting saw the Council take only two actions, while the majority of discussion centered on topics expected to receive more specific consideration at MHSAA sport committee meetings this winter.
The decision to alter the playoff selection process for 8-player football makes playoff selection consistent across both formats of the sport; 11-player football will begin using the enhanced strength-of-schedule formula as well in 2020, per Council approval at its Spring Meeting this past May. The new playoff selection formula places greater weight on the success of a team’s opponents and sets playoff divisions during the school classification process in March, instead of after the conclusion of the regular season as done previously in both 11 and 8-player football. Also similarly, teams will not be allowed to opt-up into a larger division in either format. The one difference for 8-player is that points assigned for defeating an opponent will be the same for teams in both divisions; in 11-player, more points are awarded on an escalating scale for defeating teams in larger-school divisions.
The Council also approved the permanent use of a policy for non-traditional draws in basketball and volleyball that has guided the scheduling of postseason play for those sports during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. Non-traditional draws allow games to be played at a school’s home or closer neutral site instead of all teams at the same site to alleviate travel distance and time for teams facing long trips during the District and Regional rounds. The policy approved for continuation allows for non-traditional draws to be used for Districts made up of all Upper Peninsula teams, a combination of Upper and Lower Peninsula teams or Districts made up of seven or eight teams from any location; and for geographically-neutral sites to be selected for Regionals that include more than one District located entirely in the Upper Peninsula. For the two District scenarios including Upper Peninsula teams, a traditional draw still may be conducted if all participating teams agree to it.
A number of remaining discussions focused on results from this fall’s Update Meeting survey completed by administrators during the MHSAA’s annual presentations across the state. The Council at its Spring Meeting requested study by staff on a variety of topics – most notably amateur status, out-of-season coaching issues, use of football equipment in out-of-season activities and the MHSAA travel limitation both during the summer and in-season. A number of Update survey questions addressed those subjects, and conversations on those topics will continue at the separate sport committee meetings over the next few months in advance of further Council discussion in March and May.
The Council discussed efforts to promote and grow football, and staff reported on the upcoming Youth Football Summit to be held Jan. 19, 2020, at the MHSAA in partnership with USA Football and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association. Those efforts, along with the history of use of football equipment out-of-season, are scheduled for further conversation at the MHSAA Football Committee meeting in January.
Additionally, MHSAA staff reported on current mental health initiatives – including the Association’s rules meeting partnership with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan and its “be nice.” education program – and on the first meeting of the Sports Medicine Advisory Council. Staff relayed feedback received this fall during the first season under the new sport-specific transfer rule, and also observations from the first-time use of limited District seeding in boys soccer during the recently-completed season. An update also was presented on officials registration and retention.
The Fall Meeting saw the addition of William McCoy, athletic director of Romulus Summit Academy North, to the 19-person Council. He was appointed to a two-year term. McCoy fills the position formerly held by Courtney Hawkins, athletic director of Flint Beecher High School, whose term ended. Also, Kris Isom, athletic director at Adrian Madison High School, was appointed to a two-year term. She replaces Justin Jennings, who previously served as superintendent for Muskegon Public Schools and vacated his Council appointment after leaving Muskegon for a position in Ohio this summer.
The Council reelected Scott Grimes, assistant superintendent of human services for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer. Clare Middle School principal Steve Newkirk was elected Council vice president.
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 1,500 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.
MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 27, 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 15-18 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.