Below are clarifications of rules and procedures as presented to Tom Minter of the MHSAA. If you have additional questions please email them to us for a posted response using our contact form.

Official Rules: Download Here


Question: This is an image of the face mask worn by a player. Your clarification is appreciated as to allowing this player to participate in a game.

I would not have allowed the protective mask that was allowed in the game in question based on the picture you sent. While the mask seems to conform to the contours of the face and thus would be okay, my issue is with the straps that are used to hold it in place. The clips on the strap seem to be of a hard surface of some type and if they strike another player, both the wearer and the other players could be injured.

The philosophy of allowing a contoured mask for an injured player is allowed only if there is no increase in risk either to the player wearing it or to the other players who may contact it. REMEMBER: YOU MUST SEE THE DOCTOR’S MEDICAL REQUIREMENT LETTER WITH ITS CONTENT STATING WHO FOR AND FOR HOW LONG. I am less concerned with how long, but who for is an absolute must.

I have attached pictures of what was in the approved NF rules presentation these past 2 years of the type of mask allowed. Note that the mask in the NF examples shows that Velcro type straps are used to secure the mask to the face and head. This makes sense as the Velco straps have no hard surfaces.


Question: Can a coach take captains out for breakfast for the purpose of training them on being good captains and buy their breakfast without violating the MHSAA rules:

After consultation with other MHSAAA staff members, our opinion is that the activity mentioned in your email is okay as long as the meals are in-kind and no cash or negotiable certificates are involved.

If you are providing the meal, then meeting with the captains is okay.


Question: What is the state tournament disqualification rule for a player with Red Cards??? Is it three Reds and they are disqualified from the state tourney??? Does a Red after an excessive celebration weigh the same???

This question has been posed to me by quite a few coaches.

Any player ejected three times during a season in any sport, regular and tournament together, is ineligible to participate in or continue in the MHSAA tournament for that sport.

For soccer, a yellow/red counts as one ejection. So would a “hard” red. A red card for excessive celebration counts as one ejection.

Any coach or other team attendant who gets two ejections in any sport during the season likewise cannot be present at the tournament site for the MHSAA tournament.


Question: I received the following email from an organization about playing summer games as a high school team. It has many comments about “Michigan” high school teams participating. Is this just an “advertising” gimmick to get me to join, or can we honestly take our teams to an invent like this?

Portions of an email sent to a Michigan high school coach:

We cordially invite you to consider the adidas National High School Soccer Showcase in your summer team preparation schedule. Over 265 boys and girls high school teams descended upon Strongsville, Ohio (Southwest Suburb of Cleveland) in 2006 making this event the single largest high school tournament in the country. Please go to www.adidasnationalshowcase for more information and to register your commitment to attend this one of a kind event.

This unique soccer event is designed to bring high school soccer teams from around the country to play a series of seven 40 minute games over three days. The boys weekend is scheduled for July 20-22 and the girls weekend is July 27-29. High School soccer teams from Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Kentucky, North Carolina, Washington, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, New York, Tennessee and Texas have made the adidas National High School Soccer Showcase an important part of their summer schedule.

Tom’s Response:

No MHSAA member high school could have their team attend this event.

Under MHSAA Regulation II, Section 11(H), article 2(b), since it is during the summer, a non-school team organized to play only during the summer could attend. You could take that non-school team as the coach of that summer team and play up to 15 competition dates. You could do so only up to August 1st.

The organizers of this event are wrong to make so many references to “high school” teams as many of the high school athletic associations from the states listed below, in addition to the MHSAA, do not allow their members schools teams to have such summer activities. Many state associations also have travel limitations on the coaches during the summer.


Question: Do goal post have to be secured?

Answer: It is an absolute requirement that goal posts in soccer be securely held down such that they cannot tip over and endanger players. (This happened here in Michigan a few years ago during a practice)

The National Federation High School Soccer Rules Book REQUIRES that “If portable goals are used, they shall be adequately anchored, secured or COUNTERWEIGHTED TO THE GROUND.” See the play ruling 1.4.1 Situation B.

Unless portable goals have one of the three measures above in place, the game cannot start until one of the three is done. And even then, only when what has been done is ADEQUATE in the official’s judgment.

If NOTHING has been done to secure the goalposts, then the officials CANNOT ALLOW the game to start.

When officials arrive at the game site and find such a situation, they should immediately notify the host school’s game management of the situation. The liability that occurs to the officials and to the host school in such a situation is greatly increased by the complete absence of the required safety measures.

Please advise me if you need further clarification.


Question: What is the number of games you can play on a non-school day?

My reply at the time is a maximum of 3 games (usually on a Saturday) where each game could be no more than 60 minutes. This is the format most usually followed.

Researching the regulation again causes me to believe there is more flexibility for schools as the regulation actually states no more than 180 minutes total playing time on the field on the non-school day with no half more than 30 minutes in length. Therefore an event could consist of 4 games whose halves are 22.5 minutes in length. Or an event could have 6 games whose halves are only 15 minutes in duration.

There is no mention of a game maximum. Therefore I would now conclude that the MHSAA is not concerned about the number of games on the day, rather only with the total playing time on the field.


Question: Can a player switch jerseys (and subsequently numbers) with another players at half time, or anytime during the game?

Sample Situation:

In a NFHS game last night, boys varsity: Midway through the first half I caution player # 11. At halftime I notice that same player changing jerseys with another player. I point it out to my partner and we just look at each other, neither of us has had this happen before. Since neither of us know the proper way of handling the situation, we decided prevention is the best course of action. Just before the teams are ready to take the field I call the orange coach over and warn him that if that player steps onto the field with a different jersey on, he will be sent off. The coach makes him change and we don’t have any more problems from #11.

My question: What if we had not noticed the change until play had restarted.

What is the proper way to handle it? Caution for improper equipment?

My replay is that the officials handled the situation in the email above correctly by warning the coach of the consequences of that player entering the game with a different number. Good preventive officiating!

If they had not seen the situation beforehand and had only realized the situation when the kid was on the field wearing a different number, that player would be guilty of unsporting behavior (rule 12-8-f), shown a YELLOW/RED card (as it would be their second caution) and disqualified for the remainder of that game. A sub would be allowed.