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August 20, 1999
Contact: John Johnson or Andy Frushour
517.332.5046 or

MHSAA Sportsmanship Efforts Go Local;
Providing Grants, Public Relations Kits & Parent-Targeted Video

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Aug. 20 - In its ongoing efforts to promote sportsmanship in educational athletics, the Michigan High School Athletic Association will take a more local approach during the 1999-00 school year, providing member schools and leagues and conferences additional resources to carry the message to the grassroots level.

For the past two years, the Association's sportsmanship efforts focused on its highly-successful Sportsmanship Summits. In 1997, over 800 people attended the first Summit in Lansing, with over 100 interested parties being turned away. Last year, there were over 1,200 present for the second Summit, with both events the largest such gatherings ever nationally.

The next Summit is scheduled for September 27, 2000, with the attendance goal set at 2,000 at the Lansing Center.

"While the statewide conferences really attracted a lot of attention to what needs to be done in terms of promoting good sportsmanship, the best efforts are still those at the local level," said John E. "Jack" Roberts. "This year, we're devoting our energies and resources to have our member schools and leagues and conferences carry the message of sportsmanship to everyone in their communities.

"There's only so much that can be done to promote sportsmanship by the MHSAA staff," Roberts added. "The essence of high school sports is its local flavor, and its through local efforts that we can be the most effective in communicating the need for good sportsmanship at school events."

The MHSAA has already begun providing mini-grants to member schools and leagues and conferences to assist them in staging local Sportsmanship Summits. The Association has budgeted $20,000 for the grants, which will range from $50 to $500.

In addition, the MHSAA, in cooperation with the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, is distributing its annual Good Sports Are Winners! Sportsmanship Kit to schools this month, as well as a new videotape on the topic which promotes good sportsmanship on the part of parents.

Since 1989, the MHSAA has distributed sportsmanship materials to schools they may use to come up with their own customized sportsmanship campaign. The Good Sports Are Winners! kit has included letters which can be sent to different groups involved with the school sports teams, public address announcements, as well as camera-ready materials to be used in souvenir programs. Included in this year's kit is a special section developed by the MIAAA, which focuses on parent behavior.

In addition, schools have already received the video, "What Kids Wish Their Parents Knew About Sportsmanship." The new video is a six-minute look, from a student-athlete's perspective, at adult behavior at school-sponsored athletic events. It is the second sportsmanship-related video the MHSAA has produced in the last two years.

The new video is designed to be shown at pre-season meetings many schools sponsor, as well as at booster club and school board meetings.

"Our video effort a year ago was a general look at sportsmanship, a look at what sportsmanship is and how important it is in school-sponsored sports," said Roberts. "What school athletic administrators, and specifically the MIAAA, asked the MHSAA to do was promote the fact that adult spectators must become more aware of the need for improved sportsmanship on their part at high school events. We're also pleased with the leadership role the MIAAA and their member athletic directors have taken in promoting sportsmanship at the local level.

The video, "What Kids Wish Their Parents Knew About Sportsmanship," can also be viewed from the MHSAA Web Sit. A Real Audio player is required to access the video over the Internet.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,300 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 conducted in 12 sports for girls and 12 sports for boys which attract approximately 1.3 million spectators each year.


MEDIA ADVISORY - All outlets on the MHSAA mailing list are being sent a copy of the 1999-00 Good Sports Are Winners! sportsmanship kit. Selected outlets are also being sent a VHS copy of the video, "What Kids Wish Their Parents Knew About Sportsmanship." You may request a copy of the tape by contacting John Johnson or Andy Frushour at the MHSAA office.