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Understanding Sanctioning

     The sanctioning regulations of the MPSSAA are frequently misunderstood.  Our by-laws require member schools to participate only in athletic events sanctioned by MPSSAA.  Many people are unaware or confused about just what the term sanctioned means. Let us explain.
     Regular season single contests scheduled and conducted by local school systems and made within the bylaws of the State Board of Education are already considered to be sanctioned.  The same is true about post-season events conducted by local school systems or the MPSSAA for the purpose of awarding a league, county, city, district, region, or state championship.  In the case of multi-team invitational tournaments/events held during each particular sports season, member MPSSAA schools may host intercounty contests involving only other member MPSSAA schools or schools approved through the "Standards of Competition" without sanctioning approval.  All other types of multi-team events require the host school to file the appropriate sanction request form with the MPSSAA Executive Director PRIOR to the first play date of that particular season (fall, winter, or spring) and at least 15 days prior to the event for events within the first two weeks of the season.  Each request must include an official listing of participating schools before it can be processed for approval.  The request will then be reviewed upon receipt with approval dependant upon the degree to which the event format relates to the State Board guidelines for athletics.  Events that fall within the regulations are approved for participation by member MPSSAA schools.  In the case of teams that are invited from several states, it then becomes incumbent on each state association to rule on the eligibility of schools from their particular state.
     One of the most commonly asked questions about sanctioning is, "Why?".  Sanctioning provides an assurance to schools that the students will not be exploited.  While the vast majority of tournaments provide wholesome competition in an educational setting, there have been abuses, especially in some high profile tournaments.  In some of those tournaments, large amounts of money are made on the backs of high school athletes.  Many times, these events are disguised as fundraisers for worthy causes, yet promoters pocket large administrative fees.  There have also been cases where schools are promised housing and meals as part of their participation, only to be told differently once they arrive on site.  This has happened to some teams, while other schools received preferential treatment at the same event.  Finally, the guidelines used to evaluate tournaments are as follows:

  •  The competition complies with all participatory limitations of the State Board of Education;
  •  The competition shall not determine a regional or national championship;
  •  The competition is not preliminary to a college or professional game;
  •  The competition is sponsored by an educational institution or similar non-profit organization
  •  Participation in the event is within the United States of America, does not involve loss of instructional time, and complies with the local school system policies and procedures for school-sponsored travel;
  • All awards shall comply with Regulation .08 Awards and Recognition.

     Sanction applications can be found in the menu on the left hand side of the Sanctioning page of this website.