Large Topics for the Lower Level

Editor's Note: This blog originally was posted May 21, 2013, and the topic continues to be of prime concern today.

Sometimes our meeting agendas give the impression that junior high/middle school programs are unimportant or an afterthought; but that was not the case during the MHSAA Representative Council meeting May 5 and 6, and it will not be the case at many meetings throughout the next 12 months at least.

Here are just two of the tough multi-faceted topics that the Representative Council has asked to be addressed at constituent meetings from now through next February and will be studied by the MHSAA Junior High/Middle School Committee, Classification Committee and many of the MHSAA’s separate sport committees:

  • Are current season limitations for contests and limitations on the lengths of contests appropriate for the junior high/middle school level?  Do the current limits reflect the correct philosophy for sports at this level?  Do they accommodate the four-season approach many schools encourage?  Do the limits drive some students to non-school programs?  Do they cause some schools to not join the MHSAA?
  • Should the MHSAA provide rules, programs and services for 6th-graders who, in nearly 80 percent of situations, are located in the same buildings with 7th and 8th-graders?  Does the MHSAA’s lack of involvement encourage the same by schools, and allow non-school programs to fill the resulting void; and does this drive those students away from school-based sports permanently?  Or would the MHSAA’s involvement at this level pressure school districts to add sixth grade programs and services at a time of dwindling resources for the 7-12 grade program?

We have always maintained that there is at least as much potential for school-based sports to benefit both kids and their schools at the junior high/middle school level as at the high school.  Our agendas for the next year will have that belief as its foundation as these tough topics get the time they deserve.


There are currently no comments, be the first to post one.

Post Comment

Only registered users may post comments.

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.