Accelerating Sportsmanship

During the late 1980s and the entire decade of the 1990s, we made great strides with respect to sportsmanship.  There were more education efforts in the form of PSAs, videos and statewide summits; there was more encouragement in the form of new awards programs for good sportsmanship; and there was more enforcement in the form of new rules and penalties for poor sportsmanship performance.  The direct result was more progress during this time than in many years before and in all the years since.

We need to put our foot back on the gas pedal of good sportsmanship in this decade.  It’s not corny; it’s not trite; it’s not trivial.  It’s essential to educational athletics.  It’s part of what defines educational athletics and distinguishes it from other kinds of sports programs by other kinds of sponsors.

We need to work on sportsmanship consciously, consistently and courageously in this first full school year of this new decade.

As part of the effort, this fall the MHSAA will conduct four sportsmanship summits:  in Warren on Oct. 4, Marquette on Oct. 18, Lansing on Nov. 1 and Grand Rapids on Nov. 8.  In addition, the MHSAA will continue to provide mini-grants to local schools, districts and leagues and conferences which undertake effective sportsmanship initiatives on their own.

For more information regarding the regional summits or the mini-grants, contact Andy Frushour at the MHSAA office or visit our Sportsmanship Summit Page.

Posted in: Sportsmanship


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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 44 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 seven years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is vice chair and secretary of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation.

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.