The Top Task

I’ve said and written many times before that the task of an athletic administrator is not merely event management, it is also – and more importantly – message management. It is defining and defending educational athletics. Doing so every day, in every way. Forcing our constituents, from top to bottom and both young and old, to ask and answer . . .

“What is educational athletics?”
“What is the meaning of success in school sports?”
“How do we deliver the message every day?”

This is why I’ve blogged twice a week for nine years. Eighty percent of those postings have been intended to help define and defend educational athletics.

This is why the MHSAA publishes benchmarks – the only issues-focused high school association magazine in the US.

This is why we have a Student Advisory Council, a Scholar-Athlete Award, a Battle of the Fans, Captains Clinics and Sportsmanship Summits.

This is why we take our coaches education – the Coaches Advancement Program – face to face, week after week, to every corner of our state.

This is why we have a Task Force on Multi-Sport Participation.

This is why we have a radio network and waive fees for local stations which use our great public service announcements that define and defend educational athletics . . . many of which conclude with the phrase, “Promoting the value and values of educational athletics.”

All of this, and much more, is about defining and defending educational athletics . . . the top task of athletic administrators from top to bottom of our exciting enterprise.


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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.