2014-15 Conference and Rule Changes

I bring you the preview of previews as I'll begin my annual 5 week long season preview series starting next week.  Some significant changes in the local landscape take effect this season.  Here's what you need to know.

The 2014-15 season brings the biggest slate of conference changes since the 2010-2011 season when the Classic Lake dissolved.  That forced a new Lake Conference and formed the South Suburban Conference.

Disbanded Conferences
  • Classic Suburban
  • Missota
  • North Suburban
The members of the Missota and North Suburban have spread to the 4 winds. The Classic Suburban disbanded in an attempt to get rid of St. Thomas Academy.  That plot was foiled by the MSHSL who ended up assigning St. Thomas Academy to join those teams anyway.

New Conferences
  • Independent Metro Athletic
  • Metro East
  • Metro West
The Metro West is the new league of schools from the Missota, North Suburban, South Suburban and Classic Suburban.  The Independent Metro Athletic is a new league of 6 schools who decided that the changes to the Tri-Metro weren't for them.  The Metro East is the league that was formed by the Classic Suburban schools.

Movement List
  • Henry Sibley, Hill-Murray, Mahtomedi, North (St. Paul), Simley, South St. Paul and Tartan disband Classic Suburban to form Metro East Conference
  • Hastings moves from Suburban East to Metro East
  • St. Thomas Academy assigned to Metro East by MSHSL after Classic Suburban disbanded.
  • Park denied admission to Metro East and will remain in Suburban East. 
  • Chanhassen and Chaska move from Missota to Metro West
  • Bloomington Jefferson and Bloomington Kennedy move from South Suburban to Metro West
  • Richfield moves from Classic Suburban to Metro West
  • Robbinsdale Cooper and St. Louis Park move from North Suburban to Metro West
  • Benilde-St. Margaret's assigned to Metro West by MSHSL after North Suburban disbanded
  • Irondale, Spring Lake Park and Totino-Grace assigned to Northwest Suburban by MSHSL after North Suburban disbanded.  The Northwest Suburban will split into North and West divisions of 7 teams each due to the change.
  • Columbia Heights and Fridley assigned to Tri-Metro by MSHSL after North Suburban disbanded
  • Holy Angels assigned to Tri-Metro by MSHSL after Missota disbanded
  • Blake, Breck, Minnehaha, Mounds Park Academy, Providence and St. Paul Academy leave Tri-Metro to form Independent Metro Athletic Conference.
  • Farmington and Shakopee move from Missota to South Suburban.
  • Red Wing and Northfield move from Missota to Big 9
  • New Prague moves from Missota to Wright County
Rules Changes
There 2 major rules changes that fans will notice this year.
  • On a free throw attempt players will now be allowed to enter the lane on the release rather than waiting for the ball to hit the rim.  
  • Much stricter hand check rules are in effect.
The free throw attempt change is a long time overdue and corrects the mistake that was made by changing the rule in the 90s anyway.  It was never a natural basketball play.  I'm very glad this got fixed.

As to hand checks, here's the text directly from the NFHS release

"In an effort to eliminate excessive contact on ball-handlers and dribblers outside of the lane area, the committee added Article 12 to Rule 10-6 on contact. As a result, the following acts will constitute a foul when committed against a ball-handler/dribbler: 1) placing two hands on the player, 2) placing an extended arm bar on the player, 3) placing and keeping a hand on the player and 4) contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands"

This mirrors the college point of emphasis that was put in place last season and it did trickle down to many high school games last season (especially ones officiated by college guys).  How will teams adjust and how long will the emphasis last?  The last attempt fizzled out pretty quickly.  Expect the term "Touch and Play" from the previous attempt to deal with this a couple of years ago to come back into the jargon. 

Here's a sleeper rule change that may come into play.  There's an expansion of the intentional foul rule to include "excessive contact".  I see this as a typically well-intentioned but not always practical change made by higher ups.  I think it will open up a can of worms and give an excuse to call clean hard fouls intentional.  This is where Lithgow would retort that its about player safety first which I find to be nonsense.


  1. I understand your hard foul position especially on a drive, both players in aggressive body positions. What about contact on a jump shooter before he has reestablished a position on the ground?

  2. That's something that does tend to get missed. Officials often come off of the offensive player early trying to see a bigger area.


Have a different take than mine? You can provide your take here.