A change in the transfer regulation and the addition of safety training for assistant and subvarsity coaches were among the most significant actions approved by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its annual Spring Meeting, May 5-6, in Gaylord.
The Spring meeting of the 19-member legislative body of the Association’s more than 1,500 member schools is generally the busiest of its three sessions each year. The Council considered 40 committee proposals and also dealt with a variety of eligibility rule, postseason tournament and operational issues.
The most significant change to the MHSAA body of regulations concerns students who transfer between schools for reasons related to athletics. Effective for the 2014-15 school year, a transfer student will be ineligible for 180 school days if he or she has partaken in an activity during the previous 12 months that demonstrates the transfer is related to athletics. Offending activities may include practicing, competing or training with a member of the new school’s coaching staff including during summer activities or non-school sports seasons like for AAU basketball. Attending an open gym at the new school or being coached by a current or incoming coach while the athlete still attended his or her former high school also would be considered an offending activity.
Currently, a school that loses a student for athletics-related reasons must report this to the MHSAA for that student to incur the 180-day transfer penalty. This is no longer necessary if the above activities are verified. The rule change beginning with the 2014-15 school year will consider a student’s activity taken place during the previous 12 months. Transfers may still qualify for one of 15 exemptions that allow for immediate eligibility.
The Council also approved another step in the MHSAA’s ongoing focus on health and safety issues. Also beginning with the 2014-15 school year, all assistant and subvarsity coaches at the high school level must complete the same MHSAA rules meeting required of varsity head coaches or, alternatively, one of the free online sports safety courses posted on or linked from the MHSAA Website that is designated as fulfilling this requirement.
Here is a summary of other actions taken at the Spring Representative Council Meeting which, unless noted, will take effect during the 2013-14 school year:
• In cases of serious injury or extended illness, including concussion or suspected concussion and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, students must be re-examined by a physician (MD or DO) and provide a written release from that physician before returning to practice or competition. The clearance may not be on the same date on which an athlete was removed from activity. The emphases on sudden cardiac arrest and practice are new.
• A first-time 9th grader whose first 9-12 enrollment is in a non-traditional school or program may retain eligibility at a traditional school if that student registered at the traditional school before enrolling in the non-traditional school or program.
• A faculty member may supervise a school’s team or individual competitors in cases when the head coach is unable to do so for failure to complete the annual rules meeting requirement. Previously, only an administrator was allowed to take over that supervisory role when the head coach was not allowed to be present for this reason.
• When students in grades 9 through 12 are involved, high school administrators including athletic directors may not sponsor or support out-of-season programs or perform out-of-season functions which the school itself is prohibited from sponsoring or supporting – even if the administrator is not acting as affiliated with the school. Booster clubs, alumni groups, parent organizations and other groups that exist because of the school currently are governed by the same regulation for grades 7 through 12.
• Coaches in bowling and golf may be present at a non-school facility for those respective sports when more than three of their district’s students (grades 7-12) are present, even if the coach is not employed by the facility, as long as the coach is not directly coaching or teaching more than three players and the presence of more than three students is coincidental and not prearranged by the coach.
• Beginning in 2014-15, the maximum length for all junior high/middle school sports seasons will be 13 weeks. Also, the earliest start date for junior high/middle school fall sports, beginning this fall (2013), is the 14th Monday before Thanksgiving.
• In Baseball and Softball, teams and individuals will be limited to 38 contests beginning with the 2014 season. Currently, teams may participate in a combination of 56 dates and contests.
• In Competitive Cheer, additional policies and penalties were adopted to assure teams utilize the correct number of competitors in all three rounds of competition.
• In Golf, devices that measures distance may be utilized in MHSAA tournaments beginning this fall. This does not, however, include smart phones. Also, beginning in 2014, the spring Lower Peninsula boys tournament will begin and end one week earlier than is scheduled for the current season.
• In Soccer, a National Federation (NFHS) rule was adopted for MHSAA play requiring a team to play short-handed (11 vs. 10) after a player receives a second yellow card. Currently, a player is ejected after the second yellow card, but his or her team is allowed to substitute another player to take the ejected player’s place on the field. The 10-minute sit-out period after receiving a first yellow card was eliminated.
• In Volleyball, beginning with the 2014 season, the royal blue, gray and white ball is required for all high school-level regular-season and MHSAA postseason matches.
The Council also reviewed reports on membership, with 758 senior high schools and 751 junior high/middle schools in 2012-13; eligibility advancement applications, which totaled 15 for the year; the use of Educational Transfer Forms, which remained stable this year; school violations, which remained significantly below recent average; attendance at athletic director and coaches in-service workshops; officials’ registrations; rules meeting attendance; and officials reports submitted for the past three sports seasons. The Association’s $9.9 million budget for the 2013-14 school year also was approved.
The Representative Council is the 19-member 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 120 finalists for the Michigan High School Athletic Association's Scholar-Athlete Awards for the 2022-23 school year, presented by Farm Bureau Insurance, have been announced.
The program, in its 34th year, has recognized student-athletes since the 1989-90 school year and again this winter will honor 32 individuals from MHSAA member schools who participate in at least one sport in which the Association sponsors a postseason tournament.
Farm Bureau Insurance underwrites the Scholar-Athlete Awards and will present a $2,000 scholarship to each recipient. Since the beginning of the program, 896 scholarships have been awarded.
Scholarships will be presented proportionately by school classification, with 12 scholarships to be awarded to Class A student-athletes, six female and six male; eight scholarships will be awarded to Class B student-athletes, four female and four male; six scholarships will be awarded to Class C student-athletes, three female and three male; and four scholarships will be awarded to Class D student-athletes, two female and two male. In addition, two scholarships will be awarded at-large to minority recipients, regardless of school size.
Every MHSAA member high school could submit as many applications as there are scholarships available in its classification and could have more than one finalist. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood has four finalists and Kalamazoo Loy Norrix and Midland Dow have three finalists this year. Twelve schools have two finalists: Ada Forest Hills Eastern, Cass City, Fenton, Hillsdale Academy, Holland, Holland Christian, Milford, Negaunee, Northville, Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary, South Lyon East, and Tecumseh.
Multiple-sport participation remains the norm among applicants. The average sport participation rate of the finalists is 2.88. There are 74 three-plus sport participants in the finalists field, and all but two of the 28 sports in which the MHSAA sponsors postseason tournaments are represented.
Of 421 schools which submitted applicants, 25 submitted the maximum allowed. This year, 1,440 applications were received. All applicants will be presented with certificates commemorating their achievement. Additional Scholar-Athlete information, including a complete list of scholarship nominees, can be found on the Scholar-Athlete page.
The applications were judged by a 65-member committee of school coaches, counselors, faculty members, administrators and board members from MHSAA member schools. Selection of the 32 scholarship recipients will take place in early February. Class C and D scholarship recipients will be announced Feb. 7, Class B scholarship recipients will be announced Feb. 14 and Class A scholarship recipients will be announced Feb. 21. All announcements will be made on the MHSAA Website.
To be eligible for the award, students must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.50 (on a 4.0 scale) and previously have won a varsity letter in at least one sport in which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament. Students also were asked to respond to a series of short essay questions, submit two letters of recommendation and a 500-word essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics.
Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan was founded in 1949 by Michigan farmers who wanted an insurance company that worked as hard as they did. Those values still guide the company today and are a big reason why it is known as Michigan’s Insurance Company, dedicated to protecting the farms, families, and businesses of this great state. Farm Bureau Insurance agents across Michigan provide a full range of insurance services—life, home, auto, farm, business, retirement, Lake Estate®, and more—protecting nearly 500,000 Michigan policyholders.
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.
2022-23 Scholar-Athlete Award Finalists
GIRLS CLASS A
Daria Igonin, Belleville
Ella Blank, Birmingham Groves
Ella Thomas, Brownstown Woodhaven
Keira Tolmie, Clarkston
Nora Chamas, Dearborn
Miryam El-Saghir, Dearborn Edsel Ford
Abigail Frushour, DeWitt
Rachel Williamson, East Grand Rapids
Naomi Sowa, East Lansing
Adrienne Staib, Fenton
Abigail Cumings, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
Ella Eitniear, Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills
Sophia Borowski, Grosse Pointe North
Eva Whiteman, Holland
Ana Dunfee, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix
Wendy Miedema, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix
Colleen Blackwood, Linden
Kathleen Doneth, Mason
Caroline Colt, Milford
Leah Merriam, Milford
Sophia Hekkema, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer
Jane Barnett, Royal Oak
Kate Mazur, South Lyon East
Amyla Eberhart, South Lyon East
BOYS CLASS A
Henry Jackson, Bloomfield Hills
Connor Anderson, Cadillac
Isaac David Clark, Caledonia
Braylen Himmelein, Davison
Nathan Katic, Fenton
Isaac Postema, Grand Haven
Ryan Lee, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern
Brayden Ryan LaCroix, Grandville
Brendan Downey, Grosse Pointe South
James R. Baer, Holland
Treyton William Carr, Hudsonville
James Rocco, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix
James Patterson Jr., Lake Orion
Shubhan Nagarkar, Midland Dow
Danny Safadi, Midland Dow
Jack Bakus, Midland Dow
Gavyn Stout, Muskegon Mona Shores
Abhinav Attaluri, Northville
David Whitaker, Northville
Samuel Gibson, Plainwell
Harsimmer Sohi, Portage Central
Shane Pitcher, Saline
Ian Robertson, Traverse City West
Trevor Wallar, Zeeland West
GIRLS CLASS B
Devin Johnston, Almont
Rylie Haist, Big Rapids
Jordan Richie, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
Anna Smith, Clawson
Carney Salo, Escanaba
Ella Wagner, Essexville Garber
Lauren Harrold, Flint Powers Catholic
Tiffany Keller, Frankenmuth
Ainsley VandenBrink, Holland Christian
Claire Filpus, Houghton
Elaina Bortolini, Kingsford
Matelyn Midkiff, Midland Bullock Creek
Rachel Niskanen, Negaunee
Molly McNitt, Paw Paw
Chesney Wilke, Tecumseh
Allison Tate, Whitehall
BOYS CLASS B
Sreejay Ramakrishnan, Ada Forest Hills Eastern
Jacob Pallo, Ada Forest Hills Eastern
Aiden Eric Smith, Adrian
Evan Jose Evans, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
John Kersh, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
Nathan Hooker, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
Jacob Fenbert, Dundee
Michael App, Grand Rapids Catholic Central
James Oosterhouse, Holland Christian
Matthew Bowman, Milan
Philip Nelson, Negaunee
Grant H. Harkness, Newaygo
Nicholas Liparoto, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep
Isaiah Pelc, Portland
Aldo Barba, Tecumseh
Camden Johnecheck, Williamston
GIRLS CLASS C
Tailor Onstott, Beal City
Saylar Cuthrell, Cass City
Kylie McGrath, Cass City
Claire Scholten, Charlevoix
Ruby Sierer, Clinton
Quinn Watts, Fowler
Danni Swihart, Hanover-Horton
Aziza Burgoon, Iron Mountain
Abigail Meyer, Marlette
Alaina Andrews, Ottawa Lake Whiteford
Laina Harger, St. Charles
Samantha Dietz, Watervliet
BOYS CLASS C
Logan Pflug, Cassopolis
Seth Vanderwest, Kent City
Ethan Green, Kingston
Andrew Mleczko, Madison Heights Bishop Foley
Grant Mason, Manistique
Blake O'Connor, Maple City Glen Lake
Brock Murphy, Menominee
Riley DeSarbo, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central
Ty Kohlmann, New Lothrop
Noah Etnyre, Plymouth Christian Academy
Brennan Cannaday, Royal Oak Shrine Catholic
Dirk Rierson, Unionville-Sebewaing
GIRLS CLASS D
Kylie Quist, Athens
Kasandra Lynn Waldi, Chesterfield Austin Catholic
Megan Roberts, Hillsdale Academy
Emma Case, Kinde North Huron
Monique Brisson, Munising
Makennah Uotila, Ontonagon
Gabriella Wenzel, Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary
Macey Springer, Three Oaks River Valley
BOYS CLASS D
Ryan McDonell, Bay City All Saints
Luke Walker, Clarkston Everest Collegiate
Amos Norland, Dollar Bay
Brody Appelgren, Hillman
Caleb Diener, Hillsdale Academy
Matthew Zammit, Marine City Cardinal Mooney
James Blackburn, Martin
Caleb Munson, Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary
PHOTO A group including 27 of last season's 32 MHSAA-Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award winners take a photo together during the banquet at Breslin Center.