The MHSAA Model

December 30, 2015

At the conclusion of every school sports season – fall, winter and spring – I sign stacks of checks to MHSAA member schools for their hosting of or participation in MHSAA season-ending tournaments. Some are very small checks, some are very large amounts, and none is quite enough.

Each time I perform this task, I am reminded how differently school sports operates in Michigan compared to non-school sports.

Unlike most non-school organizations, the MHSAA does not require teams to pay membership dues.

Unlike most non-school organizations, the MHSAA does not require entry fees to its postseason tournaments.

Unlike most non-school organizations, we try to reimburse tournament hosts and participating teams for at least a portion of their necessary tournament expenses.

Parents may shell out hundreds and even thousands of dollars for their children to join non-school teams and to enter non-school events; but that’s not the MHSAA model.

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.