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.

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.