The Power of the MIAAA

March 15, 2018

Athletic directors from all corners of Michigan are gathering this weekend for the annual conference of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. This MIAAA might be the most powerful organization of its kind in the USA.

The MIAAA is powerful in its professionalism, in its commitment to ongoing professional training for its members.

Michigan has ranked consistently among the top states in the number of NIAAA Leadership Training Courses completed by interscholastic athletic administrators. The MIAAA attracts a higher percentage of its members to its annual conference than most states. And the MIAAA also conducts a smaller workshop for its members in late June and a leadership academy especially for newcomers to the profession early each August.

The MIAAA is powerful in its partnerships, most of all in its connections to the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Most of the MIAAA’s board meetings are in the MHSAA’s facility. The majority of the MHSAA’s Representative Council are MIAAA members. Many MHSAA staff participate in MIAAA programs, and many MIAAA members serve on MHSAA committees. There is a powerful synonymy as we pull in the same direction to serve school sports in Michigan.

This winter, as we watched a member school go off the rails over a transfer student’s eligibility, we were given a reminder of the power of professionalism and partnerships in the conduct of both personal and corporate affairs. While poison spewed from that school and two celebrity attorneys, the MHSAA kept a low profile and stayed on the high road. We worried less about defending ourselves and more about encouraging others to defend the policies and procedures they had adopted for school sports in Michigan. As usual, the MIAAA and many of its individual members led the effort.

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.