Winter Sees Season Switch, Rules Changes

November 26, 2018

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

A switch in the starts of boys and girls basketball and a number of rules changes in various sports are notable as 2018-19 competition begins in 12 winter sports for which the MHSAA sponsors postseason tournaments.

Beginning with ice hockey’s first games Nov. 12, five sports have started play during these last two weeks, while wrestling on Dec. 5 and skiing on Dec. 8 will be the final winter sports to begin competition. This season’s first boys basketball games are scheduled to begin Nov. 26 as the boys season begins, and ends, one week before the girls basketball season this winter in a switch from years past. The change was made for this winter to accommodate availability of Michigan State University’s Breslin Student Events Center, which will host the Boys Basketball Finals. The first girls basketball games will be played Dec. 3, and the Girls Basketball Finals on March 16 at Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena will close the winter season.

The further re-definition of the competition area to reward offensive wrestling is among the most significant rules changes taking effect this winter. Following a similar rule change a year ago to create a larger scoring area coming out of the down position, wrestlers will continue to compete as long as two supporting point(s) – be it two for one wrestler or one for each – remain inbounds. This change will provide a larger scoring area for takedowns, escapes and reversals. Supporting points include the parts of the body touching, or within, the wrestling area that bear the wrestler’s weight, other than those parts with which the wrestler is holding the opponent.

Other rules changes that will be most apparent this winter include:

•  In basketball, a rule change allows any player located in the backcourt, for either team, to recover a ball deflected from the frontcourt by the defense. This exception to the backcourt violation ensures neither team is unfairly disadvantaged on a deflected pass. A player located in the frontcourt still may not be the first to touch the ball if his or her team loses control and the ball goes into the backcourt.

•  Also in basketball, the previous 14-foot coach’s box in front of a team's bench has been extended to 28 feet.

•  As with Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving season in the fall, a pair of changes for boys and Upper Peninsula girls will provide more opportunities for divers. The diving event in dual, double-dual or other multi-team non-championship competition has been limited to six dives, but now may be expanded to an 11-dive competition – giving divers another opportunity to prepare for the 11-dive competitions at the MHSAA Qualification Meets and Finals levels. Also, while diving traditionally has been placed in the middle of the event order of a dual or other regular-season meet, it may now be conducted first, last or simultaneously with the swimming events. (Both require prior mutual consent by competing teams and officials.)

•  In boys ice hockey, a penalty shot will be awarded when a goal cage is displaced on a breakaway or during the last two minutes of regulation. This is meant to deter players and goalies from attempting to displace the net during a breakaway situation.

The 2018-19 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments beginning with the Upper Peninsula Girls and Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 16, and wraps up with the Girls Basketball Finals on March 23. A reminder: The MHSAA Individual Wrestling Finals at Ford Field again will be a two-day event this winter as opposed to a three-day event as in past seasons.

Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Boys Basketball
Districts – Feb. 25, 27 & March 1
Regionals – March 5 & 7
Quarterfinals – March 12
Semifinals – March 14-15
Finals – March 16 

Girls Basketball
Districts – March 4, 6 & 8
Regionals – March 11 & 13
Quarterfinals – March 19
Semifinals – March 21-22
Finals – March 23 

Girls & Boys Bowling
Team Regionals – Feb. 22
Singles Regionals – Feb. 23
Team Finals – March 1
Singles Finals – March 2 

Girls Competitive Cheer
Districts – Feb. 15-16
Regionals – Feb. 23
Finals: March 1-2 

Girls Gymnastics
Regionals – March 2
Team Finals – March 8
Individual Finals – March 9 

Ice Hockey
Regionals – Feb. 25-March 2
Quarterfinals – March 5-6
Semifinals – March 7-8
Finals – March 9 

Girls and Boys Skiing
Regionals – Feb. 11-15
Finals – Feb. 25

Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving
U.P. Girls & Boys Finals – Feb. 16
L.P. Boys Diving Qualification Meets – Feb. 28
L.P. Boys Finals – March 8-9 

Team Districts – Feb. 6-7
Individual Districts – Feb. 9
Team Regionals – Feb. 13
Individual Regionals – Feb. 16
Team Quarterfinals – Feb. 22
Team Semifinals & Finals – Feb. 23
Individual Finals – March 1-2

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.