May 23, 2018
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MPA membership to consider changing 50 percent rule

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

A few sports-related issues await the general membership of the Maine Principals’ Association as it holds its annual spring conference Thursday and Friday at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.

Among issues likely to be discussed are the results of a survey of MPA members concerning the 50 percent rule as it relates to qualifying teams for postseason play for sports governed by the Heal point ratings, as well as the rule limiting teams statewide to five noncountable dates for exhibition games, holiday tournaments and other scrimmages each season.

Those rules have been in place for the last two seasons, but depending on the level of interest a move could be made to return to the two-thirds rule for the number of teams qualifying for the playoffs, as was the case before the 50 percent rule was enacted before the 2009-10 season.

The MPA membership also is expected to approve the work done by the organization’s reclassification committee that places teams in their regions and enrollment classifications for the next two-year cycle.

Another issue that may come up for consideration is extending the “bona fide team rule” from swimming, where it currently is utilized, to all MPA sports in order to deter student-athletes from routinely skipping high school practices or games to attend non-school athletic activities.

According to the current rule adopted in 2004, “high school swim athletes are required to be consistently present for, and actively participate in, all high school team sessions (e.g. practices, tryouts, and competitions).  Bona fide members of a school team are precluded from missing a high school practice or competition in order to participate in a non-school athletic activity.”

Under one proposal being discussed, a student-athlete could request permission to miss one practice in order to participate in a non-school activity. If a student goes to such an activity without permission, he or she then could be suspended for the school team’s next match. Subsequent skipping of practices to attend non-school athletic activities could lead to season-long suspension from the school team.

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