Sweating the Small Stuff - #3

June 5, 2018

I’m sure it discouraged some of our state’s high school football coaches to learn that the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association did not approve at its May 6-7 meeting what some people refer to as the “enhanced strength of schedule proposal” for determining 256 qualifiers to the MHSAA’s 11-player football playoffs.

There was desire among some Council members to appease those who keep trying to reduce the difficulties that a football tournament causes for regular season scheduling and conference affiliations. Others noted that the proposal, as presented, could cause as much harm to some schools and conferences as it would help others, that it did not solve the scheduling problem but shifted it.

During spirited discussion, some Council members resurrected two ideas that have been rejected previously, such as (1) doubling the playoffs once again (and shortening the regular season to eight games), and (2) coupling a six- or seven-win minimum with the revised strength of schedule criteria. The pros and cons of each idea flowed freely.

And therein is the problem. If one digs down into the details of proposals, both old and new, there are both positive and negative aspects apparent, both intended and unintended consequences likely.

There can be paralysis in analysis; but when we are dealing with more than 600 high school programs and a physically demanding sport with fewer regular-season contests permitted than in any other sport, one cannot be too careful. Eliminating one of just nine regular-season games? Increasing first-round tournament mismatches? Disadvantaging larger schools locked in leagues or areas of the state where smaller schools predominate? These are not minor matters.

And until there are sensible answers, these are not trivial questions.

MHSAA, MHSFCA to Provide Spring Evaluation Camps for College Football Hopefuls

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 25, 2023

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, in partnership with the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA), will be hosting first-ever Spring Evaluation Camps to provide athletes with aspirations of playing college football opportunities to show their skills and abilities to college coaches at one of five locations.

The one-day camps will take place between May 16-19 at Jenison High School, DeWitt High School, Jackson High School, Brighton High School and Detroit Country Day High School. The MHSAA’s involvement will allow for the opportunity for Division I college coaches to attend, and representatives from college football programs at all levels are expected.

Athletes who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2023 may register to participate via a link on the Football page.

“This is an attempt by the MHSAA to help our athletes get exposure during the spring evaluation period in a way that does not intrude on spring sports,” said Brad Bush, an MHSAA assistant director and past high school and college football coach. “We are working with the MHSFCA to help put together a first-class experience for the athletes and college coaches.”

Cost is $20 per player, and each registrant will receive a shirt to wear based on the athlete’s graduation year and registration number so college coaches in attendance can monitor their camp performance. College coaches also will receive registration information for each athlete in attendance.

All athletes must have a coach from the athlete’s school staff present at the camp, and that coach must be a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

MHSFCA executive director Andrew Pratley called the Spring Evaluation Camps a tremendous opportunity for high school athletes in Michigan.

“We are very excited with the partnership with the MHSAA that allows our kids the opportunity to wear a helmet and do drills in front of college coaches in the spring at a minimal cost,” Pratley said. “College coaches are thrilled, and it's a unique opportunity to have the rules waived by the MHSAA at these events only in order to showcase the tremendous talent all over the great state of Michigan.”

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) has been devoted to the promotion of high school football since its inception in March 1972. The MHSFCA has more than 2,500 members and provides several educational and development opportunities for members and their athletes, including an annual coaching clinic, an annual leadership conference for coaches and potential team captains, and the annual summer East-West All-Star Game for graduated seniors. Additionally, the MHSFCA’s Leadership Development Alliance is in its third year of training coaches and offering veteran members of the association as mentors.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.