December 1st is a Big Deal

November 10, 2017

One of the two or three most important Michigan High School Athletic Association Representative Council meetings of the past three decades will occur Dec. 1. Here’s why this is so.

The Council must decide where MHSAA Basketball Finals will be held for girls and boys, and make related decisions regarding both regular season and tournament schedules so schools can get on with confirming game schedules and officials assignments for at least 2018-19.  

The Council must decide whether the enrollment limit for the 2018 MHSAA 8-Player Football Tournament will be fixed or floating, and if fixed, at what number. Of greater consequence in the long run, the Council will launch a discussion into the MHSAA’s responsibility for determining varsity 8-player football opponents for schools during the regular season.

The Council must consider changes in the policies and procedures for administering the new pitch count in baseball, and if the new pitching limitations should continue to delay what were thought to be improvements in the MHSAA Baseball Tournament structure and schedule.

The Council will examine input regarding proposals to fundamentally change the MHSAA transfer rule and determine which components of the proposal should advance as action items for its meetings in March or May.

The Council will examine input on proposed changes at the junior high/middle school level for contest limitations for several sports, as well as liberalization of the limited team membership rule for all team sports except football. Of even greater consequence, the Council may determine how aggressively, if at all, to advance MHSAA-sponsored regional invitational events for the junior high/middle school level in selected individual and team sports, with action on such possibly occurring in March or May.

The Council will engage in a discussion of what may be fading and what may be emerging in youth and school sports over the next decade and what that may mean in terms of sports for which MHSAA services and support should be provided, including what MHSAA tournaments may be added and which dropped at the high school level.

The Council will examine input on seeding of MHSAA District Basketball Tournaments and determine what the scope of actions could be at its March or May meetings.

Typically, the December meeting of the Representative Council tees up a big topic or two for action in March or May. This year, the December meeting requires that some specific actions be taken and sets more than the usual number of big topics on a course for action before this school year ends.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on 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.