Winter Rules Changes Focus on Safety
December 6, 2016
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Seasons are underway for teams participating in 12 winter sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments, with a continuing focus on safety highlighting rules changes taking effect with the first days of competition.
Beginning with ice hockey’s first games Nov. 14, six sports started play during the final weeks of November, while the rest will be underway by the end of this week; Wrestling on Dec. 7 and Boys and Girls Skiing on Dec. 10 will be the final winter sports to begin competition.
Basketball, wrestling and ice hockey are among sports with noticeable changes to enhance safety this winter. In basketball, a change has been made to further protect the free-throw shooter from being displaced immediately after attempting a shot. Players occupying marked free-throw lane spaces may enter the lane on the release of the ball but may not touch or cross the free-throw line extended, into the semicircle, until the ball is released and touches the ring or backboard. Other players not occupying marked lane spaces may not have either foot beyond the vertical plane of the free-throw line extended and the 3-point line which is farther from the basket until the ball touches the ring or until the free throw ends. Both are designed to keep the free-throw shooter free from contact and alone in the semicircle directly following the shot attempt.
Also in basketball, non-playing personnel including cheerleaders, media and school supervisors must remain outside the playing area during a timeout 30 seconds or shorter. Non-playing personnel also must remain throughout the game in the areas between the free-throw lines extended and sidelines, to provide a safer environment free of possible collisions for both playing and non-playing personnel.
Officials will be on the lookout in wrestling for a hold that could lead to a competitor being dropped to the mat after a lift without the ability to use his or her arms to break the fall because they are trapped as part of the hold. If a wrestler, from a standing position, is placed in a body lock with one or both arms trapped, the offensive wrestler is required to safely return that defensive wrestler to the mat through a variety of legal moves. Officials will stop the match if a lift is coming or imminent that would result in the defensive wrestler being unable to break his or her fall because of an arm trap.
Hockey contact to the head or neck area will be penalized with multiple levels of severity in 2016-17, depending on the extent and intent of that contact. If contact to the head or neck area is deemed to be direct – that is, with the initial force of the contact occurring to the neck or head area – that contact will be considered a flagrant foul and result in a major penalty or game disqualification. If the contact is deemed indirect – with the initial force of the contact beginning below the neck and progressing upward to the head or neck area – the result will be a minor penalty unless the indirect contact is deemed by officials to be flagrant, which again will result in a major or game disqualification.
Also of note in hockey, all players (excluding goaltenders) must now take a stationary position on all faceoffs before the puck is dropped. By eliminating motion prior to faceoffs, this rule change is designed to also eliminate any possible advantage gained by players previously working for better position.
The 2016-17 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments beginning with the Upper Peninsula Girls and Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 18, and wraps up with the Boys Basketball Finals on March 25. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:
Districts – March 6, 8 & 10
Regionals – March 13 & 15
Quarterfinals – March 21
Semifinals – March 23-24
Finals – March 25
Districts – Feb. 27, March 1 & 3
Regionals – March 7 & 9
Quarterfinals – March 14
Semifinals – March 16-17
Finals – March 18
Girls & Boys Bowling
Team Regionals – Feb. 24
Singles Regionals – Feb. 25
Team Finals – March 3
Singles Finals – March 4
Girls Competitive Cheer
Districts – Feb. 17-18
Regionals – Feb. 25
Finals: March 3-4
Regionals – March 4
Team Finals – March 10
Individual Finals – March 11
Pre-Regionals – Feb. 27-March 3
Regional Finals – March 3-4
Quarterfinals – March 7-8
Semifinals – March 9-10
Finals – March 11
Girls & Boys Skiing
Regionals – Feb. 13-17
Finals – Feb. 27
Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving
U.P. Girls & Boys Finals – Feb. 18
L.P. Boys Diving Regionals – March 2
L.P. Boys Finals – March 10-11
Team Districts – Feb. 8-9
Individual Districts – Feb. 11
Team Regionals – Feb. 15
Individual Regionals – Feb. 18
Team Quarterfinals – Feb. 24
Team Semifinals & Finals – Feb. 25
Individual Finals – March 2-4
2023 Forsythe Award Celebrates Leinaar's 40 Years Dedicated to School Sports
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
March 8, 2023
Few people in Michigan have had a longer-lasting influence on the rules and policies of educational athletics than Frankfort’s Karen Leinaar, who has served in several roles locally, statewide and nationally over more than 40 years contributing to the school sports community.
Thank you, Bill Baker.
The longtime teacher, coach, principal and superintendent during a career that stretched across multiple schools – including Leinaar’s growing up, Delton Kellogg – made an impression on the standout multi-sport athlete before she graduated from high school in 1977. Baker’s philosophy and work led Leinaar to study education at Michigan State University and then brought her back as Delton’s athletic director to begin four decades of making the same impact on children in her hometown and eventually in hometowns all over Michigan and beyond.
Baker died in 2009, but not before continuing to mentor Leinaar through many good times and tough ones.
“The man had two daughters that I grew up with, his wife was a teacher, and he demonstrated to all of us – he never missed an event – that we were important to him. That even though we weren’t his kids, we were his kids and athletics was a way to help kids become better people – and for some kids it was the only thing that they had positive in their life,” Leinaar said. “And he made it known just to that individual kid how important their participation was and their involvement, and how that helped them become the person that they were.
“That to me was such an example of how to help people be good people, that I just took that role on.”
It’s a role in which she continues to serve. Leinaar began her career as an athletic administrator in 1982, and as the interim athletic director currently at Frankfort High School is serving her fifth district in that position. Since June 2019, she also has served as executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), the professional organization for school sports administrators in the state with a membership of nearly 700.
To recognize that longtime and continuing impact, Leinaar has been named the 2023 honoree for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Charles E. Forsythe Award.
The annual award is in its 46th year and named after former MHSAA Executive Director Charles E. Forsythe, the Association's first full-time and longest-serving chief executive. Forsythe Award recipients are selected each year by the MHSAA Representative Council, based on an individual's outstanding contributions to the interscholastic athletics community.
Leinaar also served 22 years on the MHSAA’s Representative Council and a four-year term from 2009-13 on the Board of Directors for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and just last week was named to the 2023 class of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Hall of Fame.
“It is impossible even to estimate the number of students, coaches, administrators and others who have been affected by the work Karen Leinaar has done to make school sports the best they can be – not only in her communities, but across Michigan and throughout the country,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “There are few who have equaled her dedication and her support and promotion of the ideals of school-based sports. She has always placed an emphasis on being in the room, on the field or at the arena, actively participating in her leadership roles, and our programs are better for it.”
Leinaar first served as athletic director at Delton Kellogg for nearly 17 years, from March 1982 through October 1998. She spent three years at Gaylord, then 8½ at Benzie Central before taking over at Bear Lake in November 2010 and spending the next decade organizing athletic programs for students in grades 5-12 before retiring in January 2021. She came out of retirement to return to the athletic director’s chair this past fall as interim AD at Frankfort. She has completed nearly four years as MIAAA executive director, moving into that position after previously serving nine years as an assistant to the executive.
Leinaar began her service on the Representative Council in Fall 1999 and completed her last term as a statewide at-large representative at the Fall 2021 meeting.
She has been honored several times for her contributions. She received the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998, a Citation from the NFHS in 2000, and she was named MIAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2001. She received an MHSAA’s Allen W. Bush Award in 2014 – recognition given for work done generally behind the scenes and with little attention.
“This is the top of the mountain, per se. This one does mean so much,” Leinaar said of the Forsythe Award. “The names that are associated with this over the years, I never thought I’d be put in that group.”
Leinaar remains a continuous source of support at a multitude of MHSAA championship events, and during her time on Council was one of the most frequent representatives handing out trophies and medals to champions and runners-up at Finals events. She began while athletic director at Delton Kellogg hosting the MHSAA Volleyball Finals in Class B and Class C and continues to assist with those championships now played at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
She also hosted Competitive Cheer Finals at Delton Kellogg in 1996 and 1997, Ski Finals while at Gaylord, and many more championship events across the Lower Peninsula. She continues to assist at the MHSAA’s Lower Peninsula Cross Country and Track & Field Finals.
After attending Delton Kellogg High School, Leinaar earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, health and recreation, with a minor in driver education, from MSU in 1982. She completed a master’s in athletic administration from Western Michigan University in 1994.
Leinaar has been a member for 40 years of both the MIAAA and NIAAA, and has served as chairperson of the MIAAA Annual Conference and awards chairperson for both the state and national bodies. She’s also served as chairperson of the MIAAA’s Exemplary Athletic Program.
Past recipients of the Charles E. Forsythe Award
1978 - Brick Fowler, Port Huron; Paul Smarks, Warren
1979 - Earl Messner, Reed City; Howard Beatty, Saginaw
1980 - Max Carey, Freesoil
1981 - Steven Sluka, Grand Haven; Samuel Madden, Detroit
1982 - Ernest Buckholz, Mt. Clemens; T. Arthur Treloar, Petoskey
1983 - Leroy Dues, Detroit; Richard Maher, Sturgis
1984 - William Hart, Marquette; Donald Stamats, Caro
1985 - John Cotton, Farmington; Robert James, Warren
1986 - William Robinson, Detroit; Irving Soderland, Norway
1987 - Jack Streidl, Plainwell; Wayne Hellenga, Decatur
1988 - Jack Johnson, Dearborn; Alan Williams, North Adams
1989 - Walter Bazylewicz, Berkley; Dennis Kiley, Jackson
1990 - Webster Morrison, Pickford; Herbert Quade, Benton Harbor
1991 - Clifford Buckmaster, Petoskey; Donald Domke, Northville
1992 - William Maskill, Kalamazoo; Thomas G. McShannock, Muskegon
1993 - Roy A. Allen Jr., Detroit; John Duncan, Cedarville
1994 - Kermit Ambrose, Royal Oak
1995 - Bob Perry, Lowell
1996 - Charles H. Jones, Royal Oak
1997 - Michael A. Foster, Richland; Robert G. Grimes, Battle Creek
1998 - Lofton C. Greene, River Rouge; Joseph J. Todey, Essexville
1999 - Bernie Larson, Battle Creek
2000 - Blake Hagman, Kalamazoo; Jerry Cvengros, Escanaba
2001 - Norm Johnson, Bangor; George Lovich, Canton
2002 - John Fundukian, Novi
2003 - Ken Semelsberger, Port Huron
2004 - Marco Marcet, Frankenmuth
2005 - Jim Feldkamp, Troy
2006 - Dan McShannock, Midland; Dail Prucka, Monroe
2007 - Keith Eldred, Williamston; Tom Hickman, Spring Lake
2008 - Jamie Gent, Haslett; William Newkirk, Sanford Meridian
2009 - Paul Ellinger, Cheboygan
2010 - Rudy Godefroidt, Hemlock; Mike Boyd, Waterford
2011 - Eric C. Federico, Trenton
2012 - Bill Mick, Midland
2013 - Jim Gilmore, Tecumseh; Dave Hutton, Grandville
2014 - Dan Flynn, Escanaba
2015 - Hugh Matson, Saginaw
2016 - Gary Hice, Petoskey; Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2017 - Chuck Nurek, Rochester Hills
2018 - Gary Ellis, Allegan
2019 - Jim Derocher, Negaunee; Fredrick J. Smith, Stevensville
2020 - Michael Garvey, Lawton
2021 - Leroy Hackley Jr., Byron Center; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2022 - Bruce Horsch, Houghton
PHOTOS (Top) Karen Leinaar, left, awards the 2022 Division 4 volleyball finalist trophy to Indian River Inland Lakes coach Nicole Moore. (Middle) Leinaar accepts the MHSAA's Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998.