Hat Trick

When asked recently to identify the most important work of the Michigan High School Athletic Association at this particular time in the history of school sports in Michigan, I paused only briefly, because there is one initiative that scores a hat trick. It’s the MHSAA Task Force on Multi-Sport Participation.

  • It is a forum for helping us define and defend educational athletics.
  • It is helping us focus on the future of school sports – on the junior high/middle school level, and even younger athletes and their parents, where attitudes are being formed and decisions are being made.
  • It is helping us focus on THE most serious health and safety issue in all of youth sports, which is specialization in one sport that is too early, too intense and too prolonged, leading to overuse injuries that tend to cause a lifetime of chronic injuries and related health problems.

The Task Force has convened five times over 15 months. It is moving now from the phase of identifying issues and challenges to developing tools for administrators and coaches to promote the multi-sport experience for young people.


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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.