The adoption of major changes to the Michigan High School Athletic Association transfer regulation was among actions taken by the governing body’s Representative Council during its annual spring meeting May 6-7.
The revised transfer regulation will go into effect for the 2019-20 school year, based on a student-athlete’s sports participation during 2018-19, the association said in a news release.
The new transfer rule will make transferring student-athletes ineligible for one year in any sport played during the previous year at the previous school – unless that student-athlete’s situation fits one of the current 15 exceptions that allow for immediate eligibility.
However, the revised transfer regulation also allows that transferring student-athlete immediate eligibility in any other MHSAA-sponsored sport not participated in during that previous year at the previous school.
The additions to the transfer rule received vast support from member schools in surveys leading up to the council’s vote.
“We are hopeful this ‘sport-specific’ transfer rule will be easier to understand, and therefore, more consistently enforced,” MHSAA Executive Director Jack Roberts said. “This rule better addresses the changing landscape of transfers, hopefully dissuading those considering moving for athletic reasons while still allowing a full range of sports for those who do switch. It may seem like a punishment to some, but the new rule is actually more permissive for many transfer students, and we saw growing support for these changes from our schools since we began discussing this proposal a year ago.”
Other actions taken by the Representative Council:
– In soccer, beginning with the 2019 season, the first round of district games will be required to be played the week before the current district week on that Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
District semifinals and finals will be scheduled for the following week – but Saturday games can be used only as a weather backup during the district round.
– To better assist with scheduling and provide transportation relief, the council approved a number of adjustments to the non-traditional draw policies for district and regional tournaments; non-traditional draws do not require all contests be played as a designated host site, assisting primarily teams that might be located far from their tournament host but closer to their opponent(s).
For the 2018-19 MHSAA basketball and volleyball tournaments, non-traditional draws will be mandated for districts made up of (a) all Upper Peninsula teams, (b) a combination of Upper and Lower Peninsula teams, or (c) seven or eight-team district grouping in any location of the state.
In districts with circumstances (a) and (b), a traditional draw may be conducted if all participating teams agree to that format. At the regional level, any that include more than one district located in the Upper Peninsula will require geographic neutral sites be used.
The council also authorized a work group to review all aspects of non-traditional draws and all affected sports and report at the council’s fall meeting Nov. 30.
– In baseball, the council approved a committee recommendation altering tournament trophies to match the tournament format previously approved to begin with the 2019 season.
Starting that spring, baseball teams will play what previously were quarterfinals as the final game of a “Super Regional” tournament, and trophies awarded to those 16 winners will read “Super Regional Champion.”
Trophies awarded to losing teams in that round will read “Regional Champion” as they still will have won the regional level of the tournament.
– In basketball, the council approved a committee recommendation to adopt the 28-foot coaching box for competition allowed under National Federation of State High School Associations rules. Previously, the MHSAA allowed for a 14-foot coaches box in front of the team’s bench.
– In competitive cheer, the council approved four committee recommendations.
The first allows junior high/middle school athletes to perform an inverted exit-cradle to back walkover out only. At the high school level, any catch that originates from shoulder level or below and transitions from a vertical body position to a horizontal body position now will require only three catchers, while four catchers are still required for any catch that exceeds shoulder level.
The two other recommendations affect scoring: the first will allow at the high school level a mountain climber to an unbraced OLE to receive the OLE choreography bonus, while the second will allow for all levels (grades 7-12) four difficulty points to be awarded for a ground-up to an elevator.
– In cross country and track and field, the council approved a recommendation from state coaches and officials associations to use a one-turn stagger for the 3,200-meter relay and open 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs.
This stagger will begin to be used in 2020. The Council also approved a committee recommendation to alter the junior high/middle school meet order to closely align with the high school order; eight events will switch so that relays and similar sprints and distance runs are ordered in the same way.
– In football, the council approved a Football Committee recommendation that the MHSAA continue for the third year to experiment with a 40-second clock for use between plays.
Teams taking part in the experiment will have 40 seconds from the end of the previous play to snap the ball to begin the next, unless there is an administrative stoppage (for penalty, measurement, etc.).
MHSAA schools began experimenting with the 40-second clock during the 2016 season.
– In soccer, the council approved a committee recommendation to allow at the high school level, as a part of the multi-team tournament rule, teams to play two full games on a non-school day and have those two count as one of the 18 regular-season contests.
Teams still have the option to play 180 minutes under the current multi-team tournament rule. The only overtime allowed would be a shootout if part of a bracket tournament.
The council also discussed a number of topics that will require action as quickly as its Nov. 30 meeting.
Options for the girls and boys basketball tournaments for the 2019-20 season were discussed; one option follows the current format of playing tournaments with a one week offset and finals at separate sites, and a second option would have the tournaments conducted simultaneously over three weeks with semifinals at sites around the state and all eight championship games (four for girls, four for boys) at the same arena during the same weekend.
The possible scheduling by the MHSAA of regular-season games for eight-player football teams also was discussed and may be voted upon Nov. 30.
The Council also reviewed reports on membership, with 751 senior high schools and 752 junior high/middle schools in 2017-18 plus 42 elementary schools with sixth-grader participation; eligibility advancement applications, which totaled six for this school year; the use of Educational Transfer Forms, which fell eight percent this year; out-of-state practice requests, school violations, attendance at athletic director in-service workshops and Coaches Advancement Program sessions, officials’ registrations, rules meetings attendance and officials reports submitted for the past three sports seasons. The Association’s $11.6 million budget for the 2018-19 school year also was approved.
— From the Michigan High School Athletic Association