Baldwin basketball coach comments on MHSAA changes
BALDWIN -- The MHSAA made some recent changes at a Representative Council meeting which will have some impact on basketball programs.
Baldwin coach JJ Eads offered his thoughts on those changes.
The council adopted a change to seeding to take effect for basketball and soccer to provide any existing byes to the No. 1, and then No. 2 seed, in that order, if multiple byes are part of a bracket. The draw process then will continue to place the remaining teams on the bracket based on a random only-selected order determined earlier in the season.
"I think this is a step in the right direction," Eads said. "Last year we received the No. 2 seed in a seven-team district and had to play a true road game in the first round, then we had to play NMC, who randomly received the only bye in the district. It makes sense to reward the teams with the top two seeds.
"It might help keep the top two teams in district on track to get to the final. Now there is more motivation for teams to get a top seed for the district. Last year it really didn't seem to matter."
But on the other hand, "the top seeded teams still may not be the best teams in the district. Some schools play in leagues with bigger schools and may not have a great record," Eads said.
The MHSAA took action for basketball programs struggling to field teams at multiple levels.
In basketball, an athlete may compete in up to five quarters per day, during no more than three dates per week and 20 dates per team or individual. Such a change, the MHSAA said, will allow athletes to contribute to both varsity and subvarsity teams simultaneously, potentially bolstering numbers and opportunities to retain those squads.
"I was surprised to see this one," Eads said. "I do understand for smaller schools to help with numbers. Our JV played a couple games with six or seven players this past season. They also faced a couple teams with only 5-to-7 players so I can see this help with smaller schools.
"The only con I can think of is the enforcement of the rule. It is another thing that officials will have to deal with."
In another MHSAA decision, coaches and athletes ejected from competition now are required to complete an online sportsmanship course from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) before returning to competition.
"It's another reason for coaches and athletes not to get ejected," Eads said. "The game suspension that is already in place is pretty effective already."