People Serving People

September 14, 2012

It is at this time each year, especially, that I’m made more aware of the harm and heartache that exists in our students’ homes, if they are lucky enough to have a home.

Every day our staff receives dozens of calls about the terrible circumstances children are in because of dysfunctional home life, medical issues or myriad other upsetting situations; and every day MHSAA Associate Director Tom Rashid is preparing for Executive Committee consideration more requests from schools to waive eligibility rules for their students whose circumstances do not fit a transfer exception or are not compliant with other regulations.

During the 2011-12 school year there were 506 requests for waiver submitted to the Executive Committee, compared to 462 the year before.  The record is 524 in 2007-08.

By far, there are more requests to waive the transfer regulation than any other: 352 in 2011-12 compared to 320 the year before.  The record is 372 in 2007-08.

There are so many requests for waiver today that the Executive Committee exceeds the MHSAA Constitution that requires a minimum of three meetings each year.  The Executive Committee has scheduled 12 meetings during each year for the past half dozen years.

And the Executive Committee front loads the calendar, this year with three meetings over five weeks at the start of the school year (Aug. 8, Aug. 28 and Sept. 11) so that the large number of situations that arise at the beginning of the new school year can be addressed before too much of fall season competition has occurred.

Last school year the MHSAA Executive Committee approved 352 of the 506 requests for waiver, including 265 of the 352 requests to waive the transfer regulation.  The five-member committee of school administrators serves without monetary compensation, but with a commitment to treat schools and students as fairly and consistently as humanly possible.  They are compassionate, caring people making difficult decisions.

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.