A Change Narrative

October 13, 2017

Here are five points to describe the essence of possible changes being processed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association for its transfer rule.

  1. We would move from a rule designed years ago for three-sport athletes to a rule that’s equally effective for regulating single-sport athletes.

  2. We would be treating all sports the same, regardless of season – fall, winter, spring. No longer would the transfer rule have a greater impact on winter sport athletes than fall or spring sport athletes.

  3. We would be getting out of the way of more “school of choice” parents who want to move a child from one school to another. If the student has not played a particular high school sport before, then eligibility is immediate in that sport ... at any level, and without any MHSAA Executive Committee action.

  4. We would be causing students who have played a high school sport (and their parents) to pause before they transfer. They would miss the next season in that sport unless one of the 15 stated exceptions to the transfer rule applies. (There is significant sentiment that this apply only to students who have played previously at the varsity level – i.e., if the student has participated previously only at the subvarsity level in a sport, that student could transfer and remain eligible at the subvarsity level; but this would be allowed one time only.)

  5. We would make it even tougher on students (and their parents) to circumvent the athletic-motivated and athletic-related transfer rules by eliminating the automatic residency exception in those special cases. (This is the most hotly debated of the changes being considered.)

The theme is “get out of the way of the benign transfers and get still tougher on the really bad ones.”

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on MHSAA.com on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.