Overdue and good for the game.
Those were among opinions expressed by coaches after the Michigan High School Athletic Association said Tuesday that regular-season basketball schedules may expand from 20 games to 22 beginning with the 2022-23 campaign.
“Been pushing for this for years,” Dakota boys coach Paul Tocco said.
“Most states offer more than 20 games, so why not us?” Added Dakota girls coach Phil McCune.
Macomb Area Conference coaches said they’ll have more schedule flexibility.
Boys teams typically had 16 dates predetermined by division games, crossovers and the conference tournament.
“It gives us more opportunities to play in showcase events, holiday tournaments and maybe keep that rivalry game on the schedule each year that we could not do before because of the 20-game limitation,” New Haven’s Tedaro France said.
Eisenhower’s Tom Antishin added, “It would allow us to join or host a Christmas tournament, or play some teams that we do not normally see in a 20-game season.”
MAC girls teams played one crossover game rather than a three-game tournament to close the 2021-22 regular season.
Ryan Rathje, who led Marysville to the state quarterfinals, said the expanded schedule will be helpful if the MAC reverts to a three-game girls tournament.
“It will give us more flexibility in our crossovers,” Rathje said. “Adding two extra games into that season opens some new possibilities.”
Coaches mentioned increased possibilities for non-traditional game dates that might assist players in the recruiting process.
“I believe it will offer more optional weekend events that will help the kids get more exposure,” McCune said.
“The players will enjoy having more opportunities to showcase their talents,” Lakeview boys coach John Carr added.
The MHSAA said in a release that the schedule adjustment “brings MHSAA school schedules in line with what is allowed in most other Midwest states.”
Also, the association said, mandatory preseason practice was reduced by one week, allowing teams to begin playing games after 14 days instead of 21.
“I am not in favor of less practice time at the beginning of the season,” Antishin said. “We always had and needed three weeks to prepare for the opening week, and it could result in some bad basketball early on. We will see. . ””
Other coaches liked the reduction in mandatory practices as a way of shortening the duration of the season.
“I am excited to see the continued progression of the MHSAA trying to stay on par with other states and the constant evolution of high school athletics,” France said.