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MHSAA Council Reinstates 2020 Football Season; Full Fall Competition Schedule Authorized


EAST LANSING, Mich. – Sept. 3 – The Fall 2020 football season has been reinstated today by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association after Governor Gretchen
Whitmer’s Executive Order 176 lifted restrictions that previously did not allow the sport to be played.
Whitmer’s executive order also allows for an immediate start of competition boys soccer; Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving and girls volleyball on Wednesday (Sept. 9) for schools located in Regions 1-5 and 7 based on the MI Safe Start Plan.  It also sets spectator limits of two per participant for outdoor and indoor events in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan. 

Statewide football, and competition in those regions for volleyball, soccer and swimming & diving, had been restricted as part of EO 160, which ordered gyms and pools to remain closed and required social distancing in competition to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in areas under Phase 4 of the Safe Start plan. Schools in Regions 6 and 8 have been able to play volleyball, soccer and swim because those regions have been under fewer restrictions while in Phase 5 of the reopening process.

The MHSAA’s Council had authorized on Aug. 20 the start of competition in volleyball, soccer and swim statewide, pending the authorization of that activity in the specific regions by Whitmer’s office. The Council also on Aug 14. postponed the Fall 2020 football season to Spring 2021, but voted today to allow for a shortened season this fall.

Schools are not required to play any of those sports this fall, and may postpone until the spring. However, the MHSAA will conduct its postseason events in those four sports only for the Fall 2020 season.

 “We are thankful for the opportunity for kids to get back on the field in all fall sports, and we appreciate Governor Whitmer providing that opportunity with Executive Order 176 ,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “We share the Governor’s priorities of putting health and safety first, and the COVID-19 guidance and protocols designed by the MHSAA at her request have led to the safe starts in all sports across the state.

“Thirty three other states are currently participating in all fall sports, and the MHSAA and its member schools are committed to doing this as safely as possible.  We are ready to again provide those experiences to students and communities that have hoped for a return of some normalcy. Given the challenges of online education in many school districts across the state, providing sports and a daily routine may be more important than ever in motivating students and providing a safe outlet for physical activity, competition and socialization.”

Football teams previously had been allowed to practice in helmets only during the traditional first week of practice, which began Aug. 10, and then during Council-approved offseason “contact” days beginning Aug. 24. With the reinstatement of this fall’s season, football teams must cease all activity until Tuesday, Sept. 8, then practice two days in helmets and shoulder pads before adding full pads Sept. 10.

They may begin regular-season games Sept. 18, and will play six games beginning with their originally-scheduled Week 4 contests.  All football teams in 11 and 8-player football will qualify for the playoffs during this fall’s shortened season, and then advance through their usual postseason progression with 8-Player Finals the weekend of Nov. 27-28 and 11-Player Finals the weekend of Dec. 4-5.

All other Fall 2020 tournaments will be conducted as previously scheduled.

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.  
 

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Be the Referee


By Mark Uyl, Asst. Director, MHSAA

You make the call: face guarding

Let’s check out your knowledge of high school football rules with a you make the call. The quarterback drops back to pass and his intended receiver gets a step on the cornerback. As the ball approaches the receiver, the defensive player sticks his hands and arms out in front of the receiver’s face without contact. The receiver loses sight of the ball, and the pass falls to the ground. What’s the call?

A national high school playing rule instituted last year removed the  penalty for face guarding without contact. The change brought high school football rules in line with collegiate and professional rules.

The pass is incomplete and there is no flag for defensive pass interference.

Be the Referee is a weekly message from the Michigan High School Athletics Association that is designed to help educate people on the rules in different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

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Clipping clipped as 2016-17 high school sports year begins


 

By John Johnson, MHSAA

 

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Clipping has been eliminated in high school football, the biggest playing rules change on the horizon for member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, which formally begin practice for 2016-17 fall sports next week.

Practice in football must begin on Aug. 8 for all schools wishing to begin regular-season games the weekend of Aug. 25-27. Schools must have 12 days of preseason practice at all levels before their first game, and those 12 days of practice may not occur before 16 calendar days.

Practice sessions for all other sports begin Wednesday (Aug. 10). In golf and tennis, competition may commence no earlier than after three separate days of team practice, and not before seven calendar days. The first day competition may take place in golf and tennis is Aug. 17. In all other fall sports, contests can take place after seven days of practice for the team and not before nine calendar days. The first day competition may take place in cross country, tennis, soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball is Aug. 19.

This fall, two football dates again precede Labor Day, and a number of MHSAA schools will play their first varsity games on Thursday, Aug. 25. In Week 1, 131 varsity games will be played on Thursday, 169 contests will be played on Friday, and 17 games will be played on Saturday. In the second week, 245 games will take place on Thursday, 62 will be played on Friday and 6 contests are on Saturday.

Eliminating clipping from the high school game is the latest step in the national playing rules promulgated by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Clipping previously was permitted in the free-blocking zone when it met three conditions; however, clipping is now illegal anywhere on the field at any time. According to the rule, the free-blocking zone is defined as a rectangular area extending laterally 4 yards either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each line of scrimmage.

A few notable changes will go into effect for other fall sports:

•  In cross country, a participant who assists an injured or ill competitor when the appropriate health care professional is not available no longer will be disqualified from the race; only the runner receiving assistance will be disqualified for not finishing the race unassisted.

•  In soccer, changes were made to the offside rule that makes it match offside rules for the NCAA and FIFA/USSF. The most notable change states that a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save) is not considered to have gained an advantage and can move ahead toward attempting to score a goal. A player who does receive the ball while in offside position after a deliberate save remains offside, and the result is an indirect kick for the defending team.

•  Also in soccer, eliminating of rough play will be a point of emphasis this school year. Rough play including contact above the shoulder often results in player injury.

•  In volleyball, a change to rules on uniforms aims to make the libero more recognizable from all angles. Beginning this fall, the libero, her teammates, or both will be required to wear a solid-colored uniform top; the libero’s top must clearly contract the predominant color(s) of her teammates’ uniform tops. Also related to the uniforms, soft hair devices, formerly no more than two inches in width, may now be up to three inches in width.

•  Also in volleyball, a service toss that contacts a basketball backboard or its supports in a vertical position over the serving area is a service fault and not eligible for a re-serve. The opponent receives a point and the next serve.

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Be the referee


 

By Mark Uyl, Asst. Director, MHSAA

Be the Referee is a weekly message from the Michigan High School Athletics Association that is designed to help educate people on the rules in different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Automatic first downs

Today we are going to talk about one of the biggest rule difference areas in high school football from those rules used in college and pro games and that deals with automatic first downs.

When watching that college game on Saturday or the pro game on Sunday, all of us know there are several defensive fouls that give the offense an automatic first down. However, under high school rules, the opposite is true most of the time.

The only high school fouls that result in an automatic first down for the offense are the roughing fouls – roughing the passer, the kicker, the holder and the long snapper. Fouls such as defensive pass interference or any other personal foul do not bring an automatic first down under high school rules.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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