MHSAA Membership

May 9, 2016

May is the month that begins membership renewal in the Michigan High School Athletic Association, when the 2016-17 Membership Resolution is mailed to school districts across the state.

New for 2016-17 is that schools may join the MHSAA at the 6th-grade level and up (not 7th). This change, resulting from a 561 to 87 vote by member school principals last October, has three obvious benefits:

  1. Makes it easier for small schools to include 6th-graders in their counts and on their 7th- and 8th-grade teams.

  2. Makes it easier for districts where 6th-graders are in buildings with 7th- and 8th-graders to participate on those junior high/middle school teams.

  3. Allows all districts, but requires no districts, to provide athletic opportunities for 6th-graders under the auspices of the MHSAA (on separate teams or with 7th- and 8th-graders).

Membership in the MHSAA is optional. It is a choice schools make through their local governing boards. Schools may conduct a comprehensive program of interscholastic athletics and may participate against MHSAA member schools in regular-season competition without joining the MHSAA.

Membership in the MHSAA is free of charge. There are no membership dues. While MHSAA tournaments are limited to MHSAA member high schools in good standing, there are no tournament entry fees for qualifying schools. Catastrophic Accident Medical Insurance and Concussion Care Insurance is purchased by the MHSAA and provided free of charge to all eligible student-athletes in grades 6 through 12. It applies to all levels of MHSAA sports in both practice and competition.

The expectations of member schools include:

  • Educating student-athletes, staff and other involved personnel about MHSAA rules and procedures.

  • Monitoring compliance year-around.

  • Investigating possible violations and reporting findings.

  • Administering penalties.

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.