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MHSA announces change to football reclassification requirements, other actions

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Posted at 4:12 PM, Apr 20, 2023

HELENA — The Montana High School Association announced a revision to its requirements for football reclassification — among other actions — following an executive board meeting held Monday and Tuesday.

According to an MHSA release:

Football classification will be organized on a two-year basis to align with the reclassification of schools. Enrollment ranges are as follows — 6-player: 1-65; 8-player: 65-130; 11-player: 130-over.

Four criteria will be used for schools that petition to play at the level below their current placement: Grades 8-11 boys enrollment and future boys enrollment projections; roster size from the past four years; success factor including win-loss record and postseason results; free and reduced lunch percentage from the Office of Public Instruction.

If a school does not meet the criteria, it may participate in the lower classification but will not be eligible for the postseason. A school that opts down in classification may become eligible in its second season if it meets the criteria during the fall of its first season.

If each school in an existing co-op has participation numbers to support a team at a lower classification, it must dissolve the co-op and participate on its own at the lower classification.

Football co-op agreements are now two years. All other MHSA co-ops remain at three years.

In other board actions, the MHSA approved changing the number of preseason days of practice from 10 to eight in all sports. It also approved an increase in sub-varsity pay for MOA officials. The current fee is $48 per game, and will increase to $55 per game beginning in the 2023-24 school year.

Additionally, the MHSA approved walk-up music for baseball and softball, pending approval by each school's administration. It also approved changes to its jewelry policy. Effective immediately, jewelry may be worn if allowed by National Federation of High School rules or the governing body for specific sports (e.g. the USGA or USTA).

The MHSA also approved a change in volleyball to allow teams to switch benches between sets. This change rescinds a rule put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.