Contact: Geoff Kimmerly or John Johnson
517.332.5046 or [email protected]

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Nov. 26 – A switch in the starts of boys and girls basketball and a number of rules changes in various sports are notable as 2018-19 competition begins in 12 winter sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.

Beginning with ice hockey’s first games Nov. 12, five sports have started play during these last two weeks, while wrestling on Dec. 5 and skiing on Dec. 8 will be the final winter sports to begin competition. This season’s first boys basketball games are scheduled to begin Nov. 26 as the boys season begins, and ends, one week before the girls basketball season this winter in a switch from years past. The change was made for this winter to accommodate availability of Michigan State University’s Breslin Student Events Center, which will host the Boys Basketball Finals. The first girls basketball games will be played Dec. 3, and the Girls Basketball Finals on March 16 at Calvin College’s Van Noord Arena will close the winter season.

The further re-definition of the competition area to reward offensive wrestling is among the most significant rules changes taking effect this winter. Following a similar rule change a year ago to create a larger scoring area coming out of the down position, wrestlers will continue to compete as long as two supporting point(s) – be it two for one wrestler or one for each – remain inbounds. This change will provide a larger scoring area for takedowns, escapes and reversals. Supporting points include the parts of the body touching, or within, the wrestling area that bear the wrestler’s weight, other than those parts with which the wrestler is holding the opponent.

Other rules changes that will be most apparent this winter include:

In basketball, a rule change allows any player located in the backcourt, for either team, to recover a ball deflected from the frontcourt by the defense. This exception to the backcourt violation ensures neither team is unfairly disadvantaged on a deflected pass. A player located in the frontcourt still may not be the first to touch the ball if his or her team loses control and the ball goes into the backcourt.

•  Also in basketball, the previous 14-foot coach’s box in front of a team's bench has been extended to 28 feet.

•  As with Lower Peninsula girls swimming & diving season in the fall, a pair of changes for boys and Upper Peninsula girls will provide more opportunities for divers. The diving event in dual, double-dual or other multi-team non-championship competition has been limited to six dives, but now may be expanded to an 11-dive competition – giving divers another opportunity to prepare for the 11-dive competitions at the MHSAA Qualification Meets and Finals levels. Also, while diving traditionally has been placed in the middle of the event order of a dual or other regular-season meet, it may now be conducted first, last or simultaneously with the swimming events. (Both require prior mutual consent by competing teams and officials.)

•  In boys ice hockey, a penalty shot will be awarded when a goal cage is displaced on a breakaway or during the last two minutes of regulation. This is meant to deter players and goalies from attempting to displace the net during a breakaway situation.

The 2018-19 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments beginning with the Upper Peninsula Girls and Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 16, and wraps up with the Girls Basketball Finals on March 23. A reminder: The MHSAA Individual Wrestling Finals at Ford Field again will be a two-day event this winter as opposed to a three-day event as in past seasons.

Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Boys Basketball
Districts – Feb. 25, 27 & March 1
Regionals – March 5 & 7
Quarterfinals – March 12
Semifinals – March 14-15
Finals – March 16 

Girls Basketball
Districts – March 4, 6 & 8
Regionals – March 11 & 13
Quarterfinals – March 19
Semifinals – March 21-22
Finals – March 23 

Girls & Boys Bowling
Team Regionals – Feb. 22
Singles Regionals – Feb. 23
Team Finals – March 1
Singles Finals – March 2 

Girls Competitive Cheer
Districts – Feb. 15-16
Regionals – Feb. 23
Finals: March 1-2 

Girls Gymnastics
Regionals – March 2
Team Finals – March 8
Individual Finals – March 9 

Ice Hockey
Regionals – Feb. 25-March 2
Quarterfinals – March 5-6
Semifinals – March 7-8
Finals – March 9 

Girls and Boys Skiing
Regionals – Feb. 11-15
Finals – Feb. 25 

Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving
U.P. Girls & Boys Finals – Feb. 16
L.P. Boys Diving Qualification Meets – Feb. 28
L.P. Boys Finals – March 8-9 

Team Districts – Feb. 6-7
Individual Districts – Feb. 9
Team Regionals – Feb. 13
Individual Regionals – Feb. 16
Team Quarterfinals – Feb. 22
Team Semifinals & Finals – Feb. 23
Individual Finals – March 1-2

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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