Don’t Mention It

It has taken every ounce of personal and professional discipline during the past month to keep me from writing what I’ve been thinking since the world became aware of arrests and suspensions in and around major college athletic programs.

  • I won’t repeat that we have been outspokenly suspicious of the influence of apparel companies on amateur athletics in America.
  • I won’t repeat that we have been continuously critical of the travel team environment infecting sports for youth and adolescents.
  • I won’t repeat for the umpteenth time that the “arms race” in major college basketball and football is ultimately unsustainable, or at least indefensible under the banner of higher education.
  • I won’t repeat that, in an era of ubiquitous high-definition video, it is ridiculous to think college coaches must be onsite for the cesspool of spring and summer tournaments funded by apparel companies, and that it would save colleges huge sums of money if NCAA rules did not permit onsite evaluations at such times and places.
  • I won’t repeat that nationwide travel and national tournaments are bad for student-centered, school-sponsored sports.
  • I won’t repeat that the Michigan High School Athletic Association limitation on travel and prohibition of payments to high school coaches from any source but the school are good for school sports.

I won’t mention any of this.

Posted in: Perspective


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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.