An Easy Call

April 6, 2016

A few people of limited perspective blame the MHSAA for the loss by MSU’s women’s basketball team in the NCAA tournament last month on our refusing to shuffle off the Michigan Girls High School Basketball Semifinals and Finals to some other time or place.

It wasn’t a bad call in Michigan that caused MSU’s loss in Mississippi. It wasn’t even a tough call for us; it was the only call.

No way would we dash the dreams of 16 teams or even diminish the experience of coaches, players, parents and spectators surrounding those 16 deserving girls high school basketball programs.

No way would we damage relationships with vendors, broadcasters and sponsors who have expectations of, or even legally binding agreements for, a certain event, on certain dates, at a certain site.

The NCAA has changed the format of its women’s tournament frequently, and it may change its policies and procedures again before next March, or before the contract expires for the MHSAA’s Girls and Boys Basketball Semifinals and Finals at MSU following the 2017 tournaments. So we are not in a panic about future tournaments.

We hope to keep the MHSAA girls and boys tournaments together; and we are confident both MSU and the greater Lansing community see the significant benefits of hosting these events.

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.