Winter Rules Additions Focus on Safety

December 5, 2013

Rules promoting greater player safety and improved coach-player communication highlight the playing rules changes for the winter sports season now underway at Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools across the state.

The winter sports season involves eight different sports and approximately 70,000 student-athletes.  Practices began as early as late October; and tournaments begin in mid-February, running through the end of March. Competition is already underway in Girls Basketball, Bowling in the Upper Peninsula, Girls Competitive Cheer, Girls Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, and Upper Peninsula Swimming & Diving. On Saturday (Dec. 7), competition begins for Bowling and Swimming in the Lower Peninsula, as well as Wrestling.  The Boys Basketball season begins on Monday (Dec. 9), and Skiing events may begin on Dec. 14.

Ice Hockey has several rules changes promoting player safety. “Blind-side” hits, checks to an unsuspecting or vulnerable player, can now be penalized; and the rule prohibiting a player form pushing, charging, cross or body-checking an opponent from behind into the boards or goal frame has reinstated the discretion for the official to issue a game disqualification when flagrant. Another safety change stops play when the goalkeeper’s glove is displaced – expanding a rule where the displacement of the keeper’s mask or helmet stops play.

Additionally, an embellishment rule has been added to discourage players from taking dives to draw penalties and exaggerating the severity of the impact of a play in which a penalty is called. Finally, when the attacking team bats the puck directly on goal, it shall result in an immediate whistle and a resulting faceoff at the defensive zone faceoff spot of the offending team.

In Basketball and Wrestling, electronic devices may now be used on the bench or in the corner for coaching purposes – for example, to show plays or keep statistics. Devices may not be used to dispute officials’ calls.

The head coach in Basketball may enter the court without penalty when a fight may break out or has broken out to prevent the situation from escalating. Players and assistant coaches who leave the bench in such situations will continue to be assessed flagrant technical fouls and be disqualified from the contest.

In keeping with rules book language published a few years ago in football, the basketball rules have added a section which limits public address announcers’ action during play. PA announcers, during game action, are limited to announcing who scores baskets and commits fouls. Any other announcements during play, like time remaining, are inappropriate. General announcements during time outs are still allowed.

In Wrestling, forfeits are no longer considered as matches when considering the five-matches-in-one-day limit for competition.

Winter tournaments begin the first full week of February in wrestling. The first MHSAA Finals of the season are the Upper Peninsula Swimming & Diving Finals on February 15, and tournaments conclude with the Boys Basketball Semifinals & Finals, March 21-22.

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly 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 16-19 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.