The Origins of Reaching Higher
The MHSAA Reaching Higher programs began with boys and girls basketball. Because of special school rules to limit coaches’ compensation, national travel, and live television, it is less apparent in Michigan than in some other parts of the country; but there is a widespread opinion that amateur basketball is out of control in America. That it’s in shambles, operating too much outside of school/college control, but in the hands of corporate interests and unregulated agents. That it’s jeopardizing skill levels and team play so much that we are failing in international play. That it’s jeopardizing the amateur status of players and the integrity of contest results.
Because the elite athlete has not been the primary focus of school sports, interscholastic athletic administrators have avoided designing special programs for specially gifted student-athletes. More recently, however, there is the growing opinion that there is some danger that the corruption of the college recruiting process in basketball is spreading to other sports, like volleyball, and settling to younger and younger athletes each year. Preserving the health and integrity of interscholastic athletics generally may require a more proactive approach to this special population of players.
The “Reaching Higher” program is the name given to Michigan’s effort. It includes two basketball events and this volleyball event to provide assistance in a safe, inexpensive, educational environment to those who may have the potential to play intercollegiate basketball at some level. In time, the program will involve other initiatives to help establish, maintain and strengthen the link between youth and schools. To have youth players aim to play for their school team and have high school players focus on their school team and their educator/coach more than on non-school programs.
Because this is a joint effort of the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association, the “Reaching Higher” experience is also strengthening the strong bond between two organizations that have the best interests of schools and students at heart, and together they may be establishing a model for other high school sports in Michigan.
Reaching Higher Experience
2019 Event: July 18
The Next Level
You are a talented student-athlete whose hard work and dedication has led to a multitude of impressive honors and statistics along your high school journey. The Reaching Higher program is indeed geared to assist student-athletes in attaining the "Next Level;" but it is important to temper aspirations of full-ride college scholarships and the even more remote pipedream of professional athletic careers. For most, the "Next Level," will not include competitive athletics. Let the following statistics serve as both a warning and a guide as you prepare for the "Next Level" as a successful citizen rather than an athlete.
- Nearly 450,000 girls play high school volleyball nationwide. Roughly 1.1% of all players will ever play at an NCAA institution.
- More than 1 million boys play high school football. Annually, just over 17,000 are afforded the chance to earn a scholarship as freshmen.
- Of course, the above figures are contingent on achieving minimum grade standards for acceptance to an NCAA program.