Contact: Geoff Kimmerly
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Jan. 11 – Five finalists have been selected for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s “Battle of the Fans V,” which will again recognize the top student cheering section from among member schools and culminate in a ceremony including all five finalists during this season’s Boys Basketball Finals at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.
Yale, a finalist in 2015, again is in the running and joined by Charlotte, Munising, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian and 2014 finalist Traverse City West. This year’s pool of 22 applicants was the second-largest in Battle of the Fans history and largest since 2013.
Battle of the Fans V, organized by MHSAA staff and its 16-member Student Advisory Council, will reward the cheering section that best creates the positive and festive atmosphere made possible when students show enthusiasm, togetherness and sportsmanship while rooting for their team. MHSAA staff and Student Advisory Council members will visit all five finalists for home boys basketball games during the second half of this regular season, with coverage and video from those visits and the announcement of the winner all to be published on the MHSAA Second Half website (http://secondhalf.mhsaa.com).
Schools were invited in December to submit short videos, via YouTube, of their cheering sections in action. The winner will be announced Feb. 19, and video of all five sections will be played on the Breslin Center HD scoreboard during the Finals in March. The champion and finalists also will be recognized during the Boys Semifinals on March 25.
This year’s finalists include at least one school from each MHSAA Class – A, B, C and D – and 16 of 22 finalists received at least one top-five vote from a member of the Student Advisory Council.
“This was not only one of the largest, but top-to-bottom it’s one of the strongest fields of applicants we’ve had during the five years of Battle of the Fans,” said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. “It shows this program is growing. Schools know about it and look forward to taking part. And most importantly, the message is continuing to spread that students can have a blast rooting on their classmates in a positive way.”
Video submissions included explanations on how each section met the following contest criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership and overall fun.
The finalists were chosen by the Student Advisory Council, and the winner will be selected by another Advisory Council vote based in part on activity on the MHSAA’s social media sites. All social media postings regarding Battle of the Fans V should include the hashtag #BOTF. The MHSAA will post throughout the finalists tour on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites and Snapchat feed.
Finalists will be visited for the following home basketball games:
Jan. 15: Armada at Yale
Jan. 23: Spring Lake at Muskegon Western Michigan Christian
Feb. 4: Traverse City Central at Traverse City West
Feb. 5: Eben Junction Superior Central at Munising
Feb. 12: Parma Western at Charlotte
Big Rapids, Detroit U-D Jesuit, Dowagiac, Tawas Area and Wayland Union, listed here in alphabetical order, rounded out the top 10 in the vote to select the finalists. This year’s group guarantees another first-time winner to go with Frankenmuth in 2012, Buchanan in 2013, Beaverton in 2014 and Dowagiac last winter.
This year’s applicants brought the total number of schools that have entered the contest at least once to 75, with Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard – a finalist in 2013 – the only school to apply all five years. Traverse City West has applied three times, Munising and Yale twice, and Charlotte and Western Michigan Christian were first-time entrants this year. There were 15 first-time applicants total, also including Big Rapids, Detroit U-D Jesuit, Fulton-Middleton, Holland, Imlay City, Manton, Norway, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Tawas Area, Utica Ford, Walled Lake Western, Wayland Union and Wyoming Godwin Heights. Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary applied for the second time.
To view all applications on YouTube, click on http://ow.ly/WU5UM.
The contest is sponsored in part by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, which promotes Michigan's locally-produced dairy products and nutrition education.
Rules plus links to past years’ coverage of the contest can be found on the MHSAA site at http://www.mhsaa.com/BOTF.
The Student Advisory Council is made up of eight seniors and eight juniors who each serve two-year terms. The Council acts as the voice of Michigan's student-athletes; it serves as a student sounding board for the MHSAA's Representative Council, assists in planning Sportsmanship Summits, Captains Clinics and other student leadership events; participates in a yearly focus group about the state of high schools sports for Michigan State University's Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and assists with medal ceremonies at MHSAA championship events.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,400 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.