“If you ask your board, ‘who are your customers?’, you are likely to hear a lot of comments and no consensus.” That’s what I heard a speaker say to a group of association leaders last summer; and it has set me on a course of asking different groups this question: “Who is/are the MHSAA’s customers?” We allow respondents to allocate up to 100 points so they can give weight to their responses. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
The board of directors of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) rated athletic directors as the top customer of the MHSAA (by a wide margin), followed in order by student-athletes, coaches and officials.
By an even wider margin, the MHSAA Student Advisory Council named student-athletes as the MHSAA’s top customer, followed by athletic directors and coaches tying for a distant second, and officials an even more distant fourth.
And the MHSAA’s governing body, the Representative Council, agreed that student-athletes are the top customer. Athletic directors were second, coaches third and officials fourth.
I suppose that when we ask audiences of coaches or officials or principals or others who they believe is or are the MHSAA’s customer(s), there will be some variation in the order of things. But I think we can already discern a comfortable pattern so far: everyone puts a premium on student-athletes. And that’s as it should be.
The MHSAA is unique among the state’s educational groups – we’re not an association of school boards only, or superintendents only, or principals only, or athletic directors or coaches or any other single group. We’re an association of schools, undertaking to represent all those groups and student-athletes themselves.