Football Week in Michigan

November 24, 2017

One of the best and most influential friends of school sports I know from outside the field of school sports is Greg Hammaren, senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports Detroit.

Greg has observed his children participate in school sports and has taken special interest in treating educational athletics with first class efforts when producing MHSAA Finals in football and basketball for many years. He has been respectful of what we value and how we do things in high school sports.

About one year ago, Greg observed that his network and most other well-known names in live cable or over-the-air video sports production were abandoning the high school level. He felt that FOX Sports Detroit should not join that trend. But he had to convince the parent company in southern California that we were valued by Michigan’s consumers and advertisers. He has done just that.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association Football Playoff Finals dominate the schedule for FOX Sports Detroit’s first annual Football Week in Michigan this November. Over eight days, the best high school, college and professional football involving Michigan teams is being featured on a variety of FOX video platforms – FOX Sports Detroit, FS1, FOX Sports GO!, Big Ten Network and FOX over-the-air television.

MHSAA championship football games provide 10 of the 13 games during FWIM. The prep schedule began on Nov. 18 when the two divisions of the 8-Player Football Finals were shown live on the FOX Sports Detroit Facebook page from the Superior Dome in Marquette. Delayed telecasts of both games were aired on FOX Sports Detroit on Nov. 21.

This weekend, seven of the eight 11-Player Football Finals on Nov. 24-25 are being shown live on FOX Sports Detroit-PLUS, the exception being the Division 4 game tonight which will be shown on a same-day delayed basis on FOX Sports Detroit this evening at 11:30 p.m. All of the 11-player Finals will be available live on FOX Sports GO!

Over-the-air FOX television affiliates in Michigan also have the option to carry 11-player Final games being shown live in their markets if they have a local team participating in a game. Participating affiliates are: Alpena – WBKB-DT2 (11.2); Cadillac – WFQX-TV (32); Detroit – WJBK-TV (2); Flint – WSMH-TV (66); Grand Rapids – WXMI-TV (17); Lansing – WSYM-TV (47); Marquette – WLUC-DT2 (6.2); Sault Ste. Marie – WWUP-DT2 (10.2); Vanderbilt – WFUP-TV (45). Check local listings for games to be shown locally.

Football Week in Michigan – Greg’s brainchild – was officially recognized in October in a Proclamation by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

FOX Sports Detroit’s MHSAA Football Playoff coverage began Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. with the announcement of the pairings for the 2017 playoffs on the Selection Sunday Show on FOX Sports Detroit-PLUS. Each week throughout the playoffs leading up to the 11-player Finals, the FOX Sports Detroit Prep Zone featured four games viewed live on and FOX Sports GO! – with one game also available live on the FOX Sports Detroit Facebook page.

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.