As we are well into another school year and tournament season quickly approaches, it’s business as usual for veterans who fill the important roles in developing student-athletes either as our coaches, administrators, contest officials or support staff.
For those new to any of the above positions, it is my hope that all have had a chance to catch their breath on occasion while carrying out your important mission to help elevate school sports.
While education and athletics have long been my passion and served as my launching pad professionally in 1996, I am also a “newbie” of sorts this fall, my first as MHSAA Executive Director.
Under the “business as usual” side of the ledger, that was one of my goals upon being given this great privilege of overseeing our state’s wide array of educators from coast to coast, above and below the bridge. With the foundation built by my predecessor, Jack Roberts and the wonderful staff assembled here, my first order was simply to work hard with our constituents to keep our product the best of its kind, and protect the values that make it so.
Yet, things don’t stay the same in our business. Staffs change, students change, and society changes. While the MHSAA depends on you to battle in the trenches, we promise to keep our sights set on developing issues.
With that in mind, here are some topics on which we will keep a watchful eye in the near future:
- Football Participation – A large portion of our Update Meeting Survey concerns football playoff and scheduling, always a hot topic. However, we turn the discussion very soon to declining participation numbers, both in school football programs and community-based programs – and how to reverse that trend.
- Mental Health Issues – The MHSAA has been at the forefront in providing resources and awareness of the “Four H’s:” Hearts, Heads, Heat and Health Histories. I’m being advised by medical personnel that depression, anxiety, other issues related to mental health are the No. 1 concern among adolescent-aged children. There's a real opportunity to provide some leadership and guidance there.
- Officials Recruitment – The number of registered officials continues to decline, so we need to re-focus our efforts in this vital area.
- Transfer Rule – There are significant changes coming to our transfer rule, and while we’ve done a good job of educating the masses, we will need to continue to be vigilant throughout this school year to ensure great compliance when 2019-20 begins.
I look forward to these and the numerous unforeseen challenges that lie ahead. I am comfortable and confident in this important work because of the tremendous efforts that all of you do in your communities.
Thank you for your support. We wish all of you a great end to your fall seasons and a successful start winter sports just around the corner.