Storm Surge

We have all been glued to our video devices for gruesome scenes from hurricane-ravaged portions of this hemisphere. In terms of scope and duration, the devastation is unlike anything any of us can remember so close to home; and it’s hard to say this . . . including Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Within a few weeks of destruction in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, the Michigan High School Athletic Association had established procedures for expediting the consideration of athletic eligibility of students who had evacuated uninhabitable areas and arrived in our communities without the usual records required to establish athletic eligibility in MHSAA member schools.

On Sept. 6 of this year, the MHSAA Executive Committee revisited the 2005 experience and set a course for making eligibility decisions for evacuees from Texas, Florida and other locations, should they arrive in Michigan communities. Key elements for making favorable eligibility decisions are:

  1. The student’s previous school has ceased to operate.
  2. The student’s previous residence is uninhabitable. Dwellings are presumed to have been uninhabitable for at least a brief time in specific zip codes to be designated.
  3. The student has been ordered to evacuate from his/her previous community.
  4. The student has relocated to Michigan in a permanent type of housing (not hotel) with his/her parents or only living parent and has enrolled at the public school serving that residence, the closest public school academy to the residence, or the closest nonpublic school to the new residence, pursuant to Interpretation 62.

Should Michigan schools receive a surge of storm victims this fall, we are prepared to act quickly on athletic eligibility.


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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.