On Wednesday, the MHSAA released new rules governing various sports.
The main changes come in football.
The first big difference is how teams will qualify for playoffs.
Right now, if a team wins six games they automatically are in. That'll stay the case for this upcoming season, but after that, the six-win mark is done with.
What'll replace it is a system called playoff points.
There will be eight divisions, and 32 teams will make the playoffs in each division. The playoff points formula will determine those 32 teams.
Basically, a team will earn a certain number of points directly correlated to how good the opponent they're playing is. Currently, a team only gets those points if they beat an opponent, but beginning in 2020, they will get those points win or lose. A team will also earn more points for beating teams in larger divisions.
Essentially, the MHSAA is rewarding teams for good losses, and they believe that will incentivize teams to schedule better opponents.
The MHSAA hopes this will make scheduling easier and will help stop the breakup of leagues and conferences.
That will go into effect for the 2020 season, But there are a couple changes that we will see this fall.
A big one is instant replay.
Now, we won't see this at all our local schools every Friday night.
Instant replay - for now - will only be in effect for the state championship game in Detroit.
The reason for that is because of all the cameras that are there broadcasting the game, making replay reviews possible.
We also won't be seeing it available on every play.
Right now, only scoring plays, potential scoring plays, turnovers, and potential turnovers will be eligible for review.
Just like in the NFL, a call on the field will be reversed only when there is indisputable evidence that it is wrong.
This is starting just for the state championships, but just like what we're seeing in the pros, don't be surprised if it expands to other plays or lower level games.
Finally, a change that will impact every practice from the time training camps begin this summer.
There will be less contact allowed in all practices.
In the preseason, teams will be allowed six hours of full-pads collision contact per week. Once the season begins, it's sharply reduced again, to just 30 minutes per week.
This is an effort to make the game safer and prevent injuries. The MHSAA though did make a distinction between collision contact and "thud" contact.
Collision contact is full speed tackling, like in a game, while thud contact can be full speed, but can't take a player to the ground. Collision contact has been cut down, while thud contact is unlimited.
A big change is coming to Michigan high school basketball and soccer as well, and one that Indiana should take note of.
Seeding has finally arrived.
The top two teams in each district will be seeded and placed on opposite sides of the bracket, so that they can't play each other until the district championship game.
The two teams will be determined by a computer formula that factors in regular season success and strength of schedule.