Travel Football

July 15, 2016

The University of Michigan will host a high school football game on Sept. 2, 2016. That would not make news, except that the game is between two out-of-state high school teams.

The teams are from New Jersey and Maryland, likely chosen to assist the Wolverines’ recruiting efforts in those states, and to help them make more waves in the college football world. Both high school teams are private schools, and each comes with heavy baggage.

Some public schools in New Jersey have boycotted playing the New Jersey school in football; the Maryland school is not a member of the MHSAA’s counterpart association in that state. One school is flaunting the rules; the other school has no rules to follow.

That major college football has been in an uncontrolled spiral of excess is not news; but its insidious damage to high school sports is finally making headlines.

NCAA rules have recently been robbing schools of winter and spring sports athletes as college coaches entice high school seniors to graduate at the end of their seventh semester and start practicing football with their future college teammates several months early. We are grateful to see Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby question the practice of enrolling players before their scheduled high school graduation.

Now, NCAA rules appear to invite universities to select high school football teams from anywhere there’s a great prospect or two, and transport the teams across the U.S. to compete in a nearly empty stadium, save for recruiting “gurus,” athletic apparel reps and a few media. We are hoping to see some college sports leaders step up to question this practice.

All of this leads to the rich getting richer – on both the college and school levels. All of which induces another updraft to the spiral of excess in what are supposed to be education-based programs.

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.