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Who’s Listening?

In an organization as diverse as this one, including that some schools are located more than a 10-hour drive from others and some schools are 100 times larger than others, differences of opinion about policies, procedures and programs are inevitable – and so are complaints about the decisions the organization makes.

One of the criticisms that decision-makers can count on from constituents is that they don’t listen well to or consult adequately with those affected by their decisions. Generally, such criticism comes from those who favored a different decision. They complain about the process when it’s really the result of the process that bothers them.

From where I sit, sometimes the target of such criticism, I often wonder if the pot is calling the kettle black. I wonder if the critics are listening attentively or at all to their own constituents. For example:

  • While a significant minority of school administrators complain of the burdens of the MHSAA’s increasing requirements for coaches education focused on health and safety, nearly 100 percent of their parents want even more than the MHSAA is mandating – they want what we’re requiring sooner than we are requiring it, and they want even more required.
  • While it’s only slightly more than half of school administrators who want the MHSAA’s role and authority to begin before the 7th grade and want schools running those younger grade level sports programs, nearly 100 percent of students and their parents want these things to happen, and they have for a long time.

When I bring these two topics up to students or speak to local parent groups or county school board associations, I can count on getting an earful of impatient suggestions.

So while some school administrators might complain that the MHSAA isn’t listening well enough to them, I wonder if those critics are listening well enough to their own constituents.

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From the Director

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.