sports

New Michigan High School Fall Rule Changes

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Aug. 3 – A pair of football rules changes taking effect this season builds on continuing work to minimize health risks in all interscholastic sports as 2017-18 fall practices begin next week for member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).

The first major rule change is to the allowable level of contact on a blindside block in football which is aimed at increasing player safety. A blindside block involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration (for example, while following a ball carrier on a kickoff return), is vulnerable to injury by a block coming from outside his field of vision. Blindside blocks now must be initiated with open hands only; blindside contact that is forceful and initiated with other parts of the body outside of the free blocking zone will be penalized as excessive and unnecessary.

In addition to redefining the blindside block, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) sought to also minimize risk by eliminating the pop-up kick – that is, any free kick during which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, causing it to bounce only once and into the air similar to the flight of a ball kicked directly off the tee. Kicks off a tee that bounce multiple times and then pop into the air remain allowed.

A few other notable rules changes in football will be apparent this fall:

  • A defensive player will be called for encroachment for striking the offensive snapper’s hand or arm, or the ball, prior to the snapper releasing the ball to begin a play.
  • Non-contact face guarding is no longer considered pass interference.
  • A team accepting a penalty during the final two minutes of either half now will have the option of re-starting the clock at the snap of the ball rather than the referee’s ready-for-play signal.

While most fall sports face at least minor rules changes this season, a few more of the most noticeable adjustments will come in boys soccer and girls swimming & diving.

  • In boys soccer, overtime periods and shootouts during the regular season have been eliminated. Leagues and conferences are allowed an overtime option for their end-of-season bracketed tournaments, but overtime in those cases must not exceed two 10-minute periods plus a shootout. Multi-team regular-season tournaments also may receive waivers to employ a shootout if it is used to determine the winner of a game.
  • Also in soccer, kickoffs may now travel in any direction from the center of the field. Previously, kickoffs at the high school level were required to move forward down the field of play.
  • In girls swimming & diving, a diver will need only four regular-season wins (instead of the previous five) to qualify for the Regional Diving Qualification Meet. A diver also may qualify if she places ahead of all divers from opposing schools in varsity competition in at least four meets, even if she does not finish ahead of her teammates.
  • Also in swimming & diving, to promote safer take-offs during relays, the second, third and fourth swimmers must have at least one foot in contact with the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during take-off. Those second, third and fourths swimmers may not take off with both feet on top of the starting block wedge.
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sports

MHSAA 2017-18 School Year Classifications Announced

EAST LANSING, Mich. – March 27 – Classifications for Michigan High School Athletic Association elections and postseason tournaments in traditionally classified sports (A, B, C, D) for the 2017-18 school year have been announced, with enrollment breaks for postseason tournaments set up by divisions posted to each sport’s page on the MHSAA Website.

Classifications for the upcoming school year are based on a second semester count date, which for MHSAA purposes was Feb. 8. The enrollment figure submitted for athletic classification purposes may be different from the count submitted for school aid purposes, as it does not include students ineligible for athletic competition because they reached their 19th birthday prior to September 1 of the current school year and will not include alternative education students if none are allowed athletic eligibility by the local school district.

After all counts are submitted, tournament-qualified member schools are ranked according to enrollment, and then split as closely into quarters as possible. For 2017-18, there are 750 tournament-qualified member schools with 186 schools in Class A, 187 schools in Class B, 188 schools in Class C and 189 schools in Class D.

Effective with the 2017-18 school year, schools with 881 or more students are in Class A in MHSAA postseason tournament competition. The enrollment limits for Class B are 406-880; Class C is 204-405; and schools with enrollments of 203 and fewer are Class D. The break between Classes A and B is the same as for 2016-17, the break between Classes B and C decreased six students, and the break between Classes C and D is three students fewer than the current school year.

The new classification breaks will see 20 schools move up in class for 2017-18, while 25 schools will move down.

Schools recently were notified of their classification. MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said schools may not subsequently lower their enrollment figure. However, if revised enrollment figures should be higher and indicate that a school should be playing in a higher class, that school would be moved up.

Schools have the option to play at any higher classification for a minimum of two years, but must exercise the option by April 15 for fall sports, August 15 for winter sports and October 15 for spring sports.

MHSAA tournament sports that will be conducted in traditional classifications for 2017-18 are Basketball and Girls Volleyball. Football will use traditional classifications to determine playoff points.

Sports which will compete in nearly equal divisions are: Baseball, Bowling, Girls Competitive Cheer, Lower Peninsula Cross Country, Lower Peninsula Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Lower Peninsula Soccer, Skiing, Softball, Lower Peninsula Swimming & Diving, Lower Peninsula Tennis, Lower Peninsula Track & Field and Wrestling.

Here is a complete list of schools changing classification for 2017-18. (Note: This list does not include schools opting up in class/division for tournaments, which can be found on the Administrators page of the MHSAA Website, under Enrollment and Classification): 

Moving Up From Class B to Class A

Battle Creek Harper Creek

Hazel Park

Redford Union

Stevensville Lakeshore

Zeeland West

 

Moving Down From Class A to Class B

New Boston Huron

Niles

Parma Western

Pontiac

Romulus

 

Moving Down from Class A to Class C

Detroit International Academy

 

Moving Up From Class C to Class B

Boyne City

Detroit Cornerstone Health & Technology

Detroit West Side Academy

Ecorse

Harrison

Jonesville

Michigan Center

Millington

 

Moving Down From Class B to Class C

Canton Preparatory

Clinton Township Clintondale

Detroit Henry Ford

Detroit School of Arts

Flint Academy West

Houghton

Ithaca

Pinconning

Sanford Meridian Early College

Ypsilanti Arbor Prep

 

Moving Up From Class D to Class C

Brighton Charyl Stockwell Prep Academy

Detroit Leadership Academy

Detroit Public Safety Academy

Jackson Preparatory & Early College

Marcellus

Mendon

Pittsford

Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary

 

Moving Down From Class C to Class D

Detroit Randolph Technical

Genesee

Kingston

Melvindale Academy for Business & Technology

Munising

Muskegon Heights Academy

Rudyard

West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy

 

New Postseason Eligible Tournament Schools in 2017-18

Ann Arbor Washtenaw Tech Middle College

Detroit Leadership Academy

Detroit Hope of Detroit

Hudsonville Libertas Christian

Mancelona North Central Academy

Westland American International Academy

 

Enrollment Breaks by Classes – 2017-18

(Number of schools in parentheses)

Class A: 881 and above (186 schools)

Class B: 406 – 880 (187)

Class C: 204 – 405 (188)

Class D: 203 and below (189)

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