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Hurry Up and Wait

I work so far in advance of events that I’m the subject of some ribbing by my colleagues on staff of the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

I prepare agendas for winter meetings during the previous summer – to help us plan. I draft minutes of those meetings before they occur – a device I’ve found helps to expose gaps in preparation for those meetings. I keep an ongoing file of possible questions for future surveys. I have bulging files that will help us address important topics when interfering urgent matters get out of the way.

So, it feels odd that I write to suggest athletic directors and officials assigners delay some planning for the 2018-19 school year.

You may have read in MHSAA communications or elsewhere that changes in policies of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament have made MSU’s Breslin Student Events Center unavailable to host the MHSAA girls Finals in 2018 and 2020-2022 and the boys Finals in 2019, that the MHSAA will conduct the 2018 girls Finals in Van Noord Arena at Calvin College, and that we will use the upcoming summer and fall to consider alternative venues, season calendars and tournament schedules for 2018-19 and beyond.

Decisions may be made that affect the season starting and/or ending dates of girls basketball, boys basketball or both, as well as other winter sports. Decisions could affect the end of the girls volleyball season as well.

Rather than consider this as a huge disruption, we are choosing to look at this as an opportunity to review how and when we do things, both regular season and MHSAA tournaments. Possibly there are some improvements that can be made.

On the other hand, we may find it inappropriate to upset sound scheduling and many valued traditions because of changes made in a college basketball tournament, and that we should use NCAA Division I facilities less or not at all, if necessary, to continue with our current schedules.

Nevertheless, the fact of these discussions and the potential for changes might cause leagues and local schools to delay in finalizing 2018-19 schedules and officials assignments.

Posted in: Tournaments

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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.