A National Perspective

March 30, 2018

The Handbook of the National Federation of State High School Associations provides rationale for the following eligibility rules that are common to its member associations across the USA:

  •  Age

  •  Enrollment/Attendance

  • Maximum Participation

  • Transfer/Residency

  • Academic

  • Non-School Participation

  • Preparticipation Evaluation

  • Restitution

  • Amateur/Awards

  • Recruiting/Undue Influence

Here’s the rationale provided by the National Federation for the transfer/residency rule:

“A transfer/residency requirement: assists in the prevention of students switching schools in conjunction with the change of athletic season for athletic purposes; impairs recruitment, and reduces the opportunity for undue influence to be exerted by persons seeking to benefit from a student-athlete’s prowess.

“A transfer/residency requirement: promotes stability and harmony among member schools by maintaining the amateur standing of high school athletics; by not letting individuals other than enrolled students participate, and by upholding the principle that a student should attend the high school in the district where the student’s parent(s) guardian(s) reside.

“A transfer/residency requirement: also prohibits foreign students, other than students who are participants in an established foreign exchange program accepted for listing by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), from displacing other students from athletic opportunities.”

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.