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Tournament Divisions

The spring 2017 issue of benchmarks published by the Michigan High School Athletic Association examines tournament classification in this state and around the country [Click for this issue]. Editor Rob Kaminski anticipated this would be a breaking story in Michigan.

In late March, the MHSAA Representative Council approved a second 16-team playoff for Class D schools in 8-player football, starting this fall – 2017.

Then in early May the Council approved the move from four traditional classes (A, B, C, D) to four equal divisions (1, 2, 3, 4) in boys and girls basketball and girls volleyball, effective with the 2018-19 school year.

The growth in 8-player football schools (from 24 in 2011 to 60 today) predicated the football change, while an 18 percent decline in the Class D enrollment cap over the past decade (248 in 2007-08 to 203 in 2017-18) was making the change to equal divisions in basketball and volleyball more sensible each year.

The objection of smaller schools to the equal divisions format in these sports has diminished over time as the Class D enrollment range has shrunk. If the change to equal divisions had occurred for 2017-18, the change would be from a Class D maximum of 203 students to a Division 4 maximum of 216 in girls volleyball, 212 in girls basketball and just 208 in boys basketball.

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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.