EAST LANSING More tools to assist administrators in managing student transfers, including stiffer penalties for students switching schools for athletic-related reasons and for adults influencing those decisions, highlighted actions taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its annual spring meeting in Gaylord.

The spring meeting of the 19-member legislative body of the MHSAA’S more than 1,500 member schools is generally the busiest of its three sessions each year. The Council considered 17 committee proposals and also dealt with a variety of eligibility rule, postseason tournament and operational issues.

Council built on changes to the MHSAA transfer regulation adopted at its 2013 Spring Meeting that increased the period of ineligibility to 180 days for a student making an athletic-related transfer, detailing more activities centered on athletes following their non-school coach to a new school that would lead automatically to the longer period of ineligibility even if not reported by the school losing the student.

Most notably, the maximum penalty of ineligibility for students and suspension for coaches partaking in undue influence was increased from up to one year to up to four years.

When a transfer is the result of parents’ divorce, or follows a student’s 18th birthday or enrollment as a residential student in a bona fide boarding school, school administrators will be required to attest on the MHSAA’s Educational Transfer Form that the transfer is not significantly related to or motivated by athletics.

These changes to the transfer regulation go into effect for the 2014-15 school year and come in addition to changes adopted at the Council’s Winter Meeting in March, addressing the increase of international students enrolling in MHSAA member schools outside traditional foreign exchange programs.

Beginning this fall, international students on either F-1 or J-1 visas, in order to be immediately eligible for athletics, must meet a residential exception or have been placed in a school through an Approved International Student Program (accepted for listing by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel {CSIET} and approved by the MHSAA).

International students placed through an Approved International Student Program will be immediately eligible for a maximum of the first two consecutive semesters or three consecutive trimesters at any secondary school in the United States, after which the student is ineligible for interscholastic athletic competition at any MHSAA member school for the next academic year.

International students who do not meet one of the residency exceptions recognized by the MHSAA or are not enrolled through an Approved International Student Program may become eligible to participate at the subvarsity level only. Incoming freshman international students no longer will be automatically eligible.

Here is a summary of other actions taken by the Representative Council at the Spring Meeting which will take effect during the 2014-15 school year:

Handbook/Administrative Matters

– In cases of serious injury or extended illness, including concussion or suspected concussion and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, students may be re-examined not only by a physician (MD or DO) but also a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner. All may provide the written release necessary for an athlete to return to practice or competition. Previously, only physicians held that authority.

– Students who have completed their 12th-grade season in a sport may participate in one all-star contest in that sport, subject to specific conditions, without losing their remaining interscholastic eligibility in other sports. However, participation in a prohibited or second all-star event in that same sport will result in a loss of eligibility in all sports for up to one year.

– Illinois was added to adjacent states Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, and Ontario, that do not fall under the mileage limitation for interstate competition. MHSAA member schools are not allowed to compete in any interstate meet, contest or scrimmage which involves travel of more than 600 highway miles round-trip for any participating team, unless those teams are only from Michigan and one or more of these contiguous states/provinces.

Sport Matters

– In baseball and softball, school uniforms may be worn by graduated seniors (with no remaining eligibility) who are selected to participate in all-star games conducted directly by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association and Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association.

– In football, during subvarsity contests, the clock will start on the official’s ready-to-play signal rather than the snap following a change of possession.


– Ticket price increases from $7 to $8 were adopted for the following sports and MHSAA Tournament rounds: Baseball and Softball Semifinals and Finals, Bowling Finals (Team on Friday and Singles on Saturday), Girls Competitive Cheer (Friday and Saturday sessions), Girls Gymnastics Finals (Team on Friday and Individual on Saturday), Boys and Girls Lacrosse Finals, Boys and Girls Soccer Finals, Boys and Girls Track & Field Finals, Team Wrestling Semifinals and Finals and Girls Volleyball Finals.

The cost of the three-session Team Wrestling Tournament pass was increased from $15 to $18, and ticket costs for three Ice Hockey rounds also were increased Quarterfinals tickets from $5 to $6, Semifinals tickets from $6 to $8 and Finals tickets from $7 to $10, with the Semifinal and Final 6-session passes increased from $25 to $35.

However, the 2014-15 school year will mark the 12th consecutive with no increases in MHSAA Regional tournament ticket prices for football and boys and girls basketball and the 11th consecutive year without increases at the District level of those tournaments. Tickets for both levels of all three sports will remain $5.

MHSAA’s $10.1 million budget for the 2014-15 school year also was approved.

(Geoff Kimmerly is the MHSAA Media & Content Coordinator)