Every once in a while someone will take a potshot at the MHSAA by saying the organization is motivated by money.
My colleagues in leadership of high school associations in other states probably would get a chuckle out of reading that criticism because the reputation of the MHSAA and this executive director is the opposite. We’re seen as the conservative stick-in-the-muds who oppose national tournaments and promotions in spite of the money that could be made from them.
Here’s a good checklist to determine if “the almighty dollar” motivates a high school association:
- Does the association co-title its tournaments with the name of commercial sponsors?
- Do the association’s events, publications and websites look like a NASCAR production with corporate logos plastered everywhere?
- Does the association seed its basketball tournaments or gerrymander brackets to allow the teams with the better records (and usually larger crowds) to avoid playing each other for as long into the tournament as possible?
- Does the association charge admission prices that are more than a fraction of college and professional ticket prices, or just equal to the cost of a movie?
One or more “Yes” answers doesn’t mean an association has sold out; but if all answers are “No,” you can be sure that the association has other purposes for its decisions than making money.
And “No” is the correct answer to these questions in Michigan. In fact, the full answer to No. 4 is that the MHSAA has not raised ticket prices for either basketball or football at either the District or Regional tournament level for more than a decade.