COLUMBIA -- Results of the 2007 Annual Ballot, as voted on by the member schools of the Missouri State High School Activities Association, were finalized late Thursday.  The membership approved 30 of the 31 proposed changes to the MSHSAA’s constitution and by-laws, but defeated a proposal that would have created separate district and state championship divisions for public and nonpublic schools.


            Proposal No. 24, the only ballot item submitted via petition of a member school, was defeated by a margin of 321 to 92, confirming that the Association’s current championship structure is on solid ground with member schools. MSHSAA Executive Director Dr. Kerwin Urhahn noted that the results of the vote demonstrate a willingness by member schools across the state to retain one championship system, but was quick to point out that the Association needs to continue promoting positive relations between its public and nonpublic member schools.


            “We are encouraged by the results of this vote and the desire of our membership to work together,” Urhahn said. “However, there is still a lot of work to be done in this area.  In the near future, we will be establishing a standing committee on public and nonpublic school relations to make sure that our membership has a formal channel to communicate concerns as they arise and recommend changes when they are needed. Keeping an open dialogue on these issues is critical to making progress and moving forward.”


            Of the 30 items that were approved by the membership, several have significant implications for the Association, including a change to the MSHSAA football playoffs, a new minimum academic requirement, the establishment of an Affiliate Registered School category of membership, modifications to the cooperative sponsorship program, and a change in the promotion standard for high school freshmen.


            Under the approved football playoff plan, which will begin in 2008 and be evaluated after four years, the winner and runner-up of each football district will now advance to the playoffs in all classifications.  The membership approved Proposal No. 25, which modifies by-laws relating to the first possible contest date for football, the date of the preseason interscholastic football scrimmages, and the number of required practices prior to the preseason interscholastic football scrimmages.


            The new minimum academic requirement will take effect in July 2009 and require that high school students pass 3.0 units of credit or 80% of the maximum-allowable credits the previous semester to eligible for athletic participation. This item was brought to the membership to ensure student athletes are making satisfactory progress toward graduation under the new minimum of 24 credits required by the State of Missouri for high school graduation.


            The cooperative sponsorship program will be extended to include junior high schools, while high schools will have a larger window during which to commit to a cooperative sponsorship for a two-year cycle.  This change in the senior high registration deadline would affect all activities except football which will retain the previous registration deadline.  High schools also will no longer have to meet the requirement that one of the two schools be without the activity for one full year to cooperatively sponsor a program with another member school.


            A constitutional amendment to establish a category of membership for Affiliate Registered Schools in grades 9-12 received membership approval as well. This would allow a schools that do not meet the requirements to become a full member of the Association -- or choose not to become full members -- to register as an affiliate member.  ARS schools would receive MSHSAA educational materials and rules information, but would not be eligible for district or state playoff competition.  Likewise, full MSHSAA members could play ARS members during the regular season if specific requirements are met.


            A return to a pre-1997 rule whereby students, at the point of promotion to the ninth grade, would be eligible at the school of their choice, rather than the current standard based on residency also was approved by member schools.  This change to the promotion standard is expected to reduce the number of students facing restricted eligibility during their ninth grade year, particularly in multi-school districts that offer an accelerated or special curriculum at just one high school.


            Also among the significant changes passed by the membership is a provision to allow students participating in the newly-formed MoVIP on-line education program sponsored by the State of Missouri to be eligible in interscholastic activities if they take at least two courses at the member school.  The students would have to be enrolled at the member school and meet the other standard eligibility requirements, including the academic standard.


            A complete list of ballot items can be found on the following pages.  All changes approved by the membership will go into effect on July 1, 2007 except for items 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 13, 29, 30 and 31 which go into effect immediately, and items 2, 4, 5, 10, 25 and 26 which have specific implementation dates indicated. 


            The Missouri State High School Activities Association is a not-for-profit association of member schools, currently comprised of 578 high schools and 189 separate junior high schools. A superintendent or principal at each member school is eligible to vote in the MSHSAA Annual Ballot process, and schools may vote only on issues that pertain specifically to them (i.e. only senior high school football schools voted on Proposal No. 25, etc.).  A total of 481 schools participated in the 2007 Annual Ballot process.

For a complete tally of each ballot proposal, click here: 2007 Annual Ballot.