Changes could be coming

MHSAA to look at preseason rules changes for 2013-14

REMUS — Chippewa Hills football coach Larry Jose believes change is only good if there is a purpose.

That is why he has mixed emotions about the potential of how the Michigan High School Athletic Association will handle preseason and regular season activities.

The MHSAA is looking at potentially increasing the number of days without pads at the start of the season from three to five; prohibiting two-a-day practices entirely or at least on consecutive days; limiting the numbers of minutes of practice on any day; and restricting contact drills to a certain number of minutes each week.

CHANGES: There could be preseason and regular season changes ahead for high school football teams as soon as the 2013-14 school year. (Pioneer file photo)

Jose said changes wouldn’t affect his team much. The Warriors only have three days for camps during the summer and a handful of 7-on-7 passing scrimmages.

When the season does start in August, practices are generally only two hours long.

“There is a fine line you have to walk between doing too much with kids and not doing enough for them being safe,” Jose said. “I think that it has to be looked at from all angles and not just make changes.”

Big Rapids football coach Mitch Cumings agrees.

He believes coaches will find ways to circumvent the rules, getting the most out of the rules that are in place.

Cumings also added any changes should be closely looked at because football a different sport than the others sponsored by the MHSAA.

“In every other sport, everyone makes the playoffs, you can use the season to get better,” he said. “In football, you can’t use the season to get better.”

Then there are safety issues.

“You need reps if you want to tackle properly and you need practice time to do that,” Cumings said.

MHSAA Associate Director Tom Rashid said the organization is only looking at potential changes and if any would occur, it probably wouldn’t happen until the 2013-14 school year at the earliest. Any rules changes would have to go before the football committee and the representative council before being adopted.

Any of those boards could derail any changes.

The MHSAA is looking at making potential changes because states like Georgia and Texas have limitations in place, as well as the NCAA and the NFL.

“It’s safe to say that the MHSAA will look to the schools before they act on any decision,” Rashid said.

That is fine with Jose.

There are plenty of issues that would have to be addressed, including if weight lifting would count as practice time, film study and who would monitor the schools to make sure they are following the rules.

“If you limit it too much, then you run into kids going into games unprepared,” Jose said. “But at the same time, you don’t want kids out there too long.”

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