The CHSAA Legislative Council met virtually for the first time in its 99-year history on Friday.
They voted on more than 50 items, and made a number of changes to the Association's bylaws, which impacted things from alignment to the transfer rule. We have rounded up most of those changes here.
Two classes of hockey
Hockey will split into two classifications, beginning with the 2020-21 season.
The two-class split, which was recommended by the hockey committee during its meeting in February, places 20 teams into Class 5A, and 17 in 4A. The committee used a variety of factors to place teams from bylaw 1500.21, including enrollment, geography, competitive history, competitive balance, participation rate, and the entry or selection process that places an athlete at a program.
The committee recognized the need for two classes because there isn't much, if any, parity in the sport. Over the past four years, only 14 different schools have advanced to the quarterfinals of the state tournament. Hockey currently has 37 teams.
The alignments for the sport can be found in this story from February.
Hockey will use the CHSAA Seeding Index to seed its two state tournaments: RPI, MaxPreps, and the CHSAANow coaches poll.
New seeding criteria for 5A basketball
An amendment during the meeting changed the seeding criteria that 4A and 5A basketball will use for their state tournaments: The two classes will now use a combination of the RPI standings, MaxPreps rankings and the CHSAANow coaches pool — bringing them in line with what a number of other sports are now using.
1A will also use the same criteria, but will also use the Packard Ratings.
2A baseball changes postseason
The 2A baseball postseason will now mirror what is done in 3A, 4A and 5A, with a 32-team regional bracket. All teams will qualify for the bracket via the RPI standings, and seeded by RPI. The top eight seeds will host regionals, and seeds Nos. 20-32 can be moved for geographic reasons.
The state tournament also got an overhaul, and will move to an eight-team single-elimination bracket. Previously, 2A had a 16-team bracket.
With this change, 2A schools can now schedule 23 games.
Baseball also created a game minimum to be able to qualify for the postseason: 12 games in 1A, 17 in 2A and 3A, 19 in 4A and 5A.
New field hockey tournament
In an effort to help the growth of the sport, the state field hockey tournament will expand from eight teams to 12.
The top six seeds will receive a bye while the next six will compete in a play-in bracket.
In one of those brackets, No. 9 and No. 12 will play, with the winner playing No. 8. The winner of that game will face No. 1.
In the other bracket, No. 10 and No. 11 will play, with the winner facing No. 7. The winner of that game will face the No. 2 overall seed.
During that same round, the No. 4 and No. 5 seed will play, with No. 3 and No. 6 also playing.
The transfer rule
A number of proposals involved the transfer rule. Among the changes which passed:
- An adjustment to clarify that a student doesn't have to transfer from a member school, in or out of state, in order for the rule to apply.
- A proposal better explained the transfer consequence for transferring to another school, and a return to the original school — also known as an A-B-A transfer. Specifically, a student who transfers from School A, transfers to School B and plays at School B, and the returns to School A, will only be eligible for sub-varsity competition at School A in the sports they participated in at School B for 365 days.
- A new bylaw passed allowing for students to participate with "restricted varsity eligibility during the regular season" if their high school does not offer a JV team, or if their school doesn't allow seniors to play on sub-varsity teams.
- The definition of a hardship was rewritten to read: "'Hardship' means a situation, condition or event which must impost a severe non-athletic burden upon the student or his/her family and require a transfer of schools. This does not include the personal or initial choice of enrollment and/or participation."
- The alignments for sports were finalized with the approval of each sports report. Those new alignments will be posted in the near future.
- The season of sport was changed in boys swimming, allowing for those championships to be moved up a week and have their own spotlight.
- 6-man and 8-man football will use the same four data points of seeding that was used in 1A-5A this season.
- In 5A football, all playoff games will be hosted by the higher seed.
- 1A girls volleyball will move from districts to regionals. The sport will also require that all teams play a minimum of 18 matches against member schools and varsity opponents in order to qualify for the postseason.
- Boys volleyball will have one classification during its inaugural season in spring 2021.
- Girls wrestling will use the same weight classes that were used in the pilot season.
- The 4A and 5A boys lacrosse state tournaments will each grow from 16 to 24 teams starting in spring 2021.
- The new format that will be used for a two-classification setup in girls lacrosse was approved. Find the structure for that format here.
- 2A soccer will increase its state tournament field from 12 teams to 16.
- The regional field in 3A softball will grow to 32 teams, bringing it in line with 4A and 5A.
- The requirements for qualifying for the state skiing championships were made more strict, to make the state field slightly smaller.
- The state spirit championships will move to a three-day format beginning this year. Schools will only be able to participate in one cheer category and one dance category at the state championships. Cheer and dance are now considered separate sports.
- Schools will be eligible to join CHSAA as activity-only schools, and not offer sports.
- The process for classifying programs was clarified with an amendment to bylaw 1510, which deals with the Classification, Appeals and League Organizing Committee (CLOC). Now, the CHSAA staff can offer adjustments "in extraordinary circumstances" that are based upon bylaw 1500.21 (the bylaw allowing for classification based upon factors other than enrollment) in even years. These adjustments will need to be voted on by CLOC. Typically in even years, the classifications are already set and ready to go for the following cycle, so there would be very few adjustments, if any.
- The amateur status bylaw was reworked, and now reads that student-athletes "must maintain his/her amateur status" and notes that they "may not sign a professional athletic contract." A new note defines a professional as "being paid in any form for playing in an athletic contest, or if you sign a contract or verbally commit with an agent or professional sports organization." Notably, student-athletes will be allowed to play with or against professionals in certain situations, such as in the Olympics or a World Cup.
- The coach ejection bylaw was updated to give it a more consistent level of suspension across all sports. Now, the first ejection is penalized by a suspension equal to 10% of that sports season, and a second ejection is 20%.
- All-Star games were added to bylaw 2300, allowing for "up to two All-Star Games after the completion of the state championship in that sport." No all-star games are permitted in football.
- Middle schoolers from "feeder" schools will be permitted to practice with high school teams in volleyball, basketball, soccer and football "when they cannot field enough high school athletes to hold an intra-squad practice in game-type conditions." There are a number of limitations guiding this new bylaw.
- The number of practices required for students to participate in prior to competition in contact sports was reduced from five to three in all sports but football, which will still require nine.
- Schools can now form a team with only one participant, if they choose to.
- Adding a new sport or activity will now require approval from the Budget Committee in addition to CLOC, Sports Medicine, Equity and the Board of Directors.
- The full membership of the following schools is now official: DSST - Byers, KIPP Northeast, Loveland Classical, Strive Prep - Rise, Strive Prep - Smart, and Thomas MacLaren. KIPP Northeast and Strive Prep - Rise play together are a co-op: Regis Groff.
- Officials' fees increased with a 2% cost of living adjustment across the board, for all levels.
- The alignment of State Festival and State Tournament will now be permanent in speech.
- Student Leadership's fall conference will move to a regional model beginning this year.