After the classifications and divisions for MHSAA tournaments in 2013-14 were posted on mhsaa.com last month, there were more questions and comments than in previous years.
Some of this results from electronic media – how quickly our information gets distributed far and wide, and how easy it is for people to email their opinions. This isn’t bad.
But we were able to discern in the feedback that there is poor public understanding of school enrollment trends in Michigan. For example, many people objected that the spread between the largest and smallest schools in the classifications and divisions has grown too large.
In fact, taking the long view, the difference between the largest and smallest schools has been shrinking:
In Class D, the difference between the largest and smallest school has trended downward over the past 25 years, and will be approximately 20 percent smaller for 2013-14 than in 1989 (to 189 from 247).
The same is true in Class C, although less dramatically (to 221 from 259).
The same is true in Classes B and A, although less consistently (from 496 to 464 in Class B; and from 2,111 to 1,888 in Class A).
If there is need for more than four classes in basketball or girls volleyball, or for more than four “equal divisions” in most other sports, it is not because of the reason most often cited. That reason – that the enrollment spread is growing too large – is not supported by the facts.