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It’s Not Where, But How

As happens from time to time, but too often, the urgent has crowded out the important for the Michigan High School Athletic Association this spring. For example . . .

  • A flooded soccer field at Michigan State University has forced relocation of the MHSAA Girls Soccer Finals in June.
  • The extravagant demise of The Palace of Auburn Hills following the relocation of the Detroit Pistons to the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit is forcing relocation of the 2018 MHSAA Individual Wrestling Finals.
  • Lack of availability at MSU‘s Breslin Student Events Center on the dates of the three-day MHSAA Girls Basketball Semifinals and Finals in 2018 and boys championships in 2019 is forcing changes for those tournaments.

When, after countless hours of study and discussion, these and other venue changes are announced, they generate many media reports and considerable constituent comment – in fact, much more attention than two years ago when the MHSAA announced three actions that were unprecedented nationally to promote participant health and safety: mandated concussion reporting, free concussion care gap insurance, and two sideline concussion detection pilot programs.

Where MHSAA championships are staged is not inconsequential, but it is infinitely less important than how interscholastic athletic programs are conducted during practices and contests at the local level all season long.

When we are consumed with where we play, we divert valuable time and energy away from necessary attention to what we should be doing and how we should be doing it.

Posted in: Perspective

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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.