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MHSAA changes will face battle

By By Marty Stamper
Jan. 14, 2002
One day while surfing the Internet, Scott Central girls basketball coach Chad Harrison clicked on the Mississippi High School Activities Association's web page and he didn't like what he saw one little bit.
On Nov. 1, 2001, the Executive Committee and the Legislative Council of the MHSAA met and passed a variety of regulations regarding the scheduling of various athletic events. If these regulations are passed a second time, they will go into law.
According to Dr. Ennis Proctor, Executive Director of the MHSAA, the Mississippi State Department of Education asked him to reduce the number of events that athletes participate in during the school year. Proctor also said a number of superintendents have made this same request.
Therefore, the regular basketball season would be reduced from 30 games plus two classic games to 28 games plus one classic game.
Alabama teams can play 20 games plus three tournaments during the regular season. One state limits their teams to as few as 16 basketball games.
One change would be allowing a team to play in only one out-of-state tournament per season. Sounds good, unless you live near a state line. Why travel further to stay in the state when a shorter trip (which would get the athletes back home sooner) could be made by crossing a state border?
Could it be that the MHSAA gets a hefty cut from all tournaments it sanctions in Mississippi and not one penny from those in other states that Mississippi schools play in? Can you say conflict of interest?
Another change for basketball would be to not allow football-playing schools to begin their basketball season until the regular football season has ended. That would nice except …
That change also means that 1A and 5A teams can't play in classic games with 2A, 3A, and 4A teams as the classic games would be played the Saturday after the regular season football games are over and they don't end at the same time.
That rule would also wipe out girls' preseason basketball tournaments as football would not be over and not a whole lot of girls play high school football in Mississippi.
Another of the changes that is sure to raise an eyebrow is allowing teams to play 28 basketball games if eight are in tournaments. Teams not participating in tournaments can only play 20 games.
Again, who gets a nice cut of the tournament take? The MHSAA, of course.
Another of the changes would allow schools to play only one night from Monday through Thursday. That would wipe out (or seriously crimp at the very least) any big tournaments such as the East Central Community College Classic which had 15 schools participating in this season.
But even by MHSAA standards, a two-faced scenario rears its ugly head. Guess when division, North/State, and state tournament games can be played? Any time Monday through Friday, including the infamous 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. games at the Big House.
But the local tournaments could no longer do that. Again, who gets a sweet check from the division through the state tournaments? Your MHSAA.
Robinson would also like to expand the basketball tournament field since football doubled its number of participants this fall.
Among the changes for baseball would be allowing a 28-game schedule with no doubleheaders on 20 playing dates. Anybody ready for Sunday afternoon high school baseball?