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Controlling Authority

On occasion, someone who does not like a rule of sports applied to his or her child’s situation will suggest that the Michigan High School Athletic Association has misunderstood or misapplied the rule . . . and then proceeds to tell us (or a court of law) what the rule really says or means.

At such times, we are tempted to quote from the Honorable Frank H. Easterbrook’s Foreword to Reading Law by Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner. Judge Easterbrook, who retired in 2013 from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, wrote: “The text’s author, not the interpreter, gets to choose how language will be understood and applied.”

The true and intended meaning and application of MHSAA rules and regulations are determined at the time they are adopted by their authors – MHSAA Representative Council and staff – not at the time they are challenged by those who find the meaning and application inconvenient.

For this reason, courts customarily, and correctly, do not intervene . . . do not substitute their judgment for that of the authors and administrators of the rules.

The controlling case in Michigan, by the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1986, held that courts are not the proper forum for making or reviewing decisions concerning the eligibility of students in interscholastic athletics.

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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.