The classification of schools on the basis of enrollment for statewide high school athletic tournaments appears to have been born in Michigan in the early 1900s.  Since then, there have been two irrepressible trends.

First, tournaments with multiple classifications have spread to every state.  And second, the number of classifications expanded in each sport.  In other words, once classification begins, requests for more classes or divisions never end.

One can speculate as to the reasons why people request more classes or divisions, but some results of expanding classification do not require any guesswork.  For example:

  • If the MHSAA Basketball or Volleyball Tournaments were expanded from four to six classifications or divisions, as some people suggest, it would require another day or separate venues for Semifinals, and the Finals would have to begin at 8 a.m. and would end near midnight.
  • If the MHSAA Football Playoffs were expanded from eight to ten divisions, as some people suggest, it would require scheduling the first Final game at 8 a.m. each day, and we would anticipate ending after midnight both days.

More divisions means longer travel and later weeknights for teams and their spectators at Districts and Regionals, and longer days with absurdly early starts and late finishes at the Finals.

Classifying tournaments on the basis of enrollment is a good thing.  But like many other good things, it is possible to get too much of it.

Posted in: Classification


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From the Director is the official MHSAA Blog which will touch on pertinent school sports topics periodically throughout the school year from various MHSAA Staff.