Jessica Mathews /

No penalties will result against the Howell High School football team for unintentionally violating Michigan High School Athletic Association rules.

All Star Coney Island offered free breakfast to the team the morning after any Friday win.

The team was found in violation of two rules from the 2023-2024 Coaches Guidebook after receiving free breakfast following two wins. The MHSAA caught wind of the violations following a story published in the Livingston Daily.

It’s against MHSAA rules to specify a “win”, meaning the restaurant could offer free breakfast win or lose – which it had done in the past.

The MHSAA determined that as long as the team retroactively paid for the meals, no penalties would be issued.

Upon learning of the violation, the Athletic Department immediately took action to resolve the situation. The district has already reimbursed the restaurant.

Howell Public Schools provided the following statement to WHMI:

“Following news coverage regarding a small business in our community offering free breakfast to our football team after each victory, the district was contacted by an official with the Michigan High School Athletics Association (MHSAA), alerting us to a rules violation for this action. Specificity, Interpretation 149 B, which states, “Prizes or awards to team members or contributions or donations to individuals, organizations, schools or causes which are based upon the athletic performance of individual athletes or school teams in interscholastic athletic events are not permitted under amateur status regulations. This prohibition includes but is not limited to non-symbolic awards or valuable consideration given for victories, championships, scoring (offense), or preventing scoring (defense), margins of victory or margins of defeat, and similar incentives based upon team or individual athletic performance.”

Upon learning of this violation, the Athletic Department immediately took action to resolve the situation. In communications with the MHSAA, the department was informed that it must reimburse the business for the costs of the breakfasts, in accordance with MHSAA Interpretation 154 “A student or school may remedy a violation of this Section (except Interpretation 129) by promptly reimbursing or returning to the originating party the payment, merchandise, gift certificates, valuable consideration and awards in excess of the stated limitations. In such instances, written documentation of return must be submitted to the MHSAA for final determination of eligibility and forfeitures.” The reimbursement to the business has already occurred, and proof of the reimbursement will be provided to the MHSAA.

Howell Public Schools and its Athletic Department take compliance with all rules and regulations very seriously, and this incident was the result of an unintentional error. Our commitment to fair play and sportsmanship remains unwavering, and we are committed to rectifying any potential violations promptly.

Thursday afternoon, the athletic department received correspondence from the MHSAA that they had closed and finalized the matter. The correspondence also thanked the Athletic Department for its professionalism and adherence to MHSAA regulations and policy”.