High school football teams across Michigan open practice; Some hit the filed at one minute after mi


(CCN) — High school football teams across the state open practice today, and some got an early start by taking to the field at one minute after midnight on the first official day teams can practice.

One such midnight event took place at Fenton High School where Coach Jeff Selzke had a special guest meet his team — the president of the sports booster club who was involved in a serious accident six weeks ago. Randall Thompson gave the Tigers an inspirational kick-off speech and vowed to be walking again by Halloween. Fenton's midnight practice, complete with a pre-practice tailgating event for the community, was one of several such midnight madness style openings around the state.

Rockford High School had a different kind of start on Monday when players were not greeted by veteran Coach Ralph Munger for the first time in 28 years. He had a quadruple bypass surgery last week and nobody knows if he will make it back to the sidelines. The Rams, who have been to the state playoffs 24 times in a row, were directed on Monday by Munger's long-time assistant — Randy VanderVeen. He has taken over the interim head coaching duties while Munger recovers.

High school games can begin as early as Aug. 29.

MHSAA imposes new 'sport specific' transfer rule to take effect for 2019-20 school year across Mich


LANSING (CCN) — A new sport-specific transfer rule takes effect for the 2019-20 school year for all schools across the State of Michigan.  

A press release by the Michigan High School Athletic Association informs that any student who does not meet an exception (e.g. full residential change) and transfers to another school will not be eligible in any sport he or she played this year (scrimmage or game) in the next season.  In sports not played in the previous season, the student would be eligible. 

 The transfer rule activates once a student is enrolled in the 9th grade. Enrolled, for the purposes of this rule, means on the official records of the school and actual attendance in one or more classes (traditional or online). A student is also considered enrolled if he or she participates in a scrimmage or contest, such as in August before school starts. Once a student who is enrolled in grades 9 -12 changes schools, that student is not eligible for specific sports played previously in high school unless he or she meets one of 15 exceptions set forth on the MHSAA web site, which generally have to do with a residential change or a school’s status changing.  

MHSAA numbers continue decade-long trend with slight decline in enrollment, participation last year

 LANSING (CCN) — Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools continued to experience a decade-long decline in enrollment in 2018-19, and participation across 28 sports for which the MHSAA sponsors postseason tournaments also decreased slightly. However, while the drop in enrollment was 1.28 percent from the previous school year, participation fell only 1.03 percent as four sports repeated in setting records. A total of 281,992 participants competed in MHSAA-sponsored sports this past school year.

The overall MHSAA participation totals count students once for each sport in which they participate, meaning students who are multiple-sport athletes are counted more than once.

Boys participation fell 1.2 percent to 161,614, and for the first time in four years girls participation also decreased, by eight tenths of a percent to 120,378. However, both reductions were smaller than losses in enrollment of 1.36 percent for boys and 1.19 for girls. Since the 2008-09 school year, overall enrollment in MHSAA member high schools is down 12.8 percent. But during that time, overall participation in MHSAA-sponsored sports is down only 7.3 percent.

Girls lacrosse continued its run of setting a participation record every season since becoming a sponsored tournament sport in 2005, this spring with 3,180 participants – a 9.7-percent increase from a year ago. Boys lacrosse set a record for the third consecutive year, up 5.2 percent with 5,438 participants. Both boys and girls bowling also repeated in breaking participation records – boys bowling participation increased 4.7 percent over 2017-18 with 4,329 participants, while girls bowling was up 1.1 percent with 3,093 athletes. Boys cross country, with 9,588 athletes, just missed last year’s record-setting total but still saw its second-largest group of participants since totals first were tracked year-to-year in 1991-92.

Seven more sports saw increases in participation in 2018-19, boys skiing leading the way with 11.2-percent growth – its 6,284 athletes were the sport’s most since 2014-15 thanks with an increase of three tenths of a percent over a year ago. Girls and boys tennis both saw increases; girls 1.8 percent to 9,286 athletes, its most since 2011-12, and boys up 1.6 percent to 6,261 athletes, its most since 2014-15.

Girls swimming & diving was up 1.1 percent to 5,794 athletes, its most since 2013-14. Girls track & field had its highest number of participants since 2009-10 with 17,406, with an increase of seven tenths of a percent from last year. Wrestling increased a percent from 2017-18, to 9,494 athletes, ending two years of declines. Boys Golf was up three tenths of a percent to 6,284 athletes, ending three straight years of decreases.

While 17 sports saw decreases in participation, eight saw decreases by smaller percentages than the loss of enrollment: boys basketball (-1.2 percent), girls competitive cheer (-0.6), boys cross country (-0.7), girls gymnastics (-1.1), girls skiing (-0.5), boys soccer (-0.9), girls soccer (-0.1) and boys track & field (-0.1). Football, despite a decrease in participation of 4.3 percent, remains the most played sport by far with 35,412 participants. Boys track & field is second with 23,548, followed by boys basketball with 21,125. Girls volleyball, despite a 1.8-percent decline from a year ago, remains the most popular girls sport with 19,072 athletes.