League Leadership

February 15, 2014

This past Wednesday, we convened for the 28th year the leadership of the various high school leagues and conferences across Michigan. Our purpose is to provide a “heads-up” and stimulate feedback on many of the proposals heading to the MHSAA Representative Council in March or May. 

Each of the substantive changes in Handbook regulations is presented. Every MHSAA committee recommendation to the Council is detailed.

This year’s higher profile topics are proposed changes in undue influence penalties, international student eligibility requirements, increasing requirements for coaches, new football practice policies to improve acclimatization and reduce head contact, and enhanced standards for officials assigners. A progress report on a year-long look at junior high/middle school policies was provided, and the athletic related transfer rule that takes full effect in August was reviewed.

The MHSAA asks the league leaders to provide written and/or oral reports to their league members and to relay reactions to MHSAA staff prior to the Council’s March and May meetings.

Of course, what we’re asking is a very small part of the important role that leagues and conferences have in the life of school sports. For most schools, leagues provide the core schedule for regular-season contests. They nurture healthy local rivalries in a competitive arena and provide opportunities for students to interact outside the arena during programs that promote student leadership and sportsmanship.

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.