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Wrestling Additions Highlight Winter Sports Rules Changes as 2017-18 Season Begins

Contact: John Johnson or Geoff Kimmerly
517.332.5046 or media@mhsaa.com

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Dec. 5 – The re-definition of the competition area to reward offensive wrestling in the down position is among the most significant rules changes taking effect with the start of 2017-18 competition in 12 winter sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.

Beginning with ice hockey’s first games Nov. 13, six sports started play during the final weeks of November, while the rest will be underway by the end of this week. Wrestling on Dec. 6 and Boys & Girls Skiing on Dec. 9 will be the final winter sports to begin competition.

New this winter, wrestlers in the down position will continue competing as long as the supporting point(s) of either wrestler are inbounds. Previously, wrestling stopped when one competitor’s supporting point(s) went out of bounds.

This change creates a larger scoring area and is intended to reduce match stoppages that take place when action moves out of bounds. 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.

Also in wrestling this season, two-piece uniforms are allowed as well as the traditional singlet provided the two-piece uniform follows a list of requirements and does not extend below the knee. In addition, to enhance safety, three maneuvers were made illegal including a front flip or hurdle over an opponent who is in the standing position. 

A few notable rules changes in basketball and swimming & diving also will be apparent this winter:

• In basketball, an official may now provide an official warning to the head coach – with that warning then recorded in the scorebook – for misconduct by the coach or other bench personnel including players in and outside the coaching box. This warning is intended to make the message clear that there is misconduct and promote a change in behavior before a technical foul is called. However, a warning is not required prior to calling a technical foul if the misconduct is determined to be major.  

• As with Lower Peninsula girls season in the fall, to promote safer take-offs during boys and Upper Peninsula girls swimming relays this winter, the second, third and fourth swimmers must have at least one foot in contact with the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during take-off. Those second, third and fourths swimmers may not take off with both feet on top of the starting block wedge.

• Divers in the Lower Peninsula will need only four regular-season wins (instead of the previous five) to qualify for the Regional Diving Qualification Meet. A diver also may qualify if he places ahead of all divers from opposing schools in varsity competition in at least four meets, even if he does not finish ahead of his teammates. (This applies only in the Lower Peninsula where Regionals are conducted; Upper Peninsula divers qualify for Finals based on regular-season performance.)

The 2017-18 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments beginning with the Upper Peninsula Girls and Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 17, and wraps up with the Boys Basketball Finals on March 24. A reminder: The MHSAA Individual Wrestling Finals that are moving to Ford Field 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 – March 5, 7 & 9
Regionals – March 12 & 14
Quarterfinals – March 20
Semifinals – March 22-23
Finals – March 24 

Girls Basketball
Districts – Feb. 22, 28 & March 2
Regionals – March 6 & 8
Quarterfinals – March 13
Semifinals – March 15-16
Finals – March 17 

Girls & Boys Bowling
Team Regionals – Feb. 23
Singles Regionals – Feb. 24
Team Finals – March 2
Singles Finals – March 3 

Girls Competitive Cheer
Districts – Feb. 16-17
Regionals – Feb. 24
Finals: March 2-3 

Girls Gymnastics
Regionals – March 3
Team Finals – March 9
Individual Finals – March 10 

Ice Hockey
Pre-Regionals/Regionals – Feb. 26-March 3
Quarterfinals – March 6-7
Semifinals – March 8-9
Finals – March 10 

Girls and Boys Skiing
Regionals – Feb. 12-16
Finals – Feb. 26 

Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving
U.P. Girls & Boys Finals – Feb. 17
L.P. Boys Diving Regionals – March 1
L.P. Boys Finals – March 9-10 

Wrestling
Team Districts – Feb. 7-8
Individual Districts – Feb. 10
Team Regionals – Feb. 14
Individual Regionals – Feb. 17
Team Quarterfinals – Feb. 23
Team Semifinals & Finals – Feb. 24
Individual Finals – March 2-3 

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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