Representative Voices

April 4, 2017

The Michigan High School Athletic Association is governed by a Representative Council of 18 members and a designee of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. It is important that this representative body actually be representative of the group it serves.

Of the 18 regular members of the Representative Council,

  • 16 have served as high school athletic directors, with an average tenure of 16.5 years. Eight have also served as junior high/middle school athletic directors, with an average tenure of 11.7 years.

  • 11 have served as high school assistant principals, averaging 6.2 years.

  • 5 have served as high school principals, averaging 6.4 years.

  • 3 have served as junior high/middle school principals, averaging 11.7 years.

  • 3 have served as superintendents or assistant superintendents, averaging 4.7 years.

  • 17 of the 18 have served as high school coaches, with an average tenure of 6.9 years. Seven have also served as middle school coaches, with an average tenure of 7.6 years.

  • 11 have been MHSAA registered officials. The average tenure has been 13.1 years, in an average of 2.1 sports.

To assure representation of both large and small schools in all parts of the state, the MHSAA Constitution requires that four Council members be elected from the Class A and B schools in four different geographic regions, and four be elected from Class C and D schools from those four geographic sections.

Five other Council members are elected by statewide votes, with two of those specifically designated persons serving junior high/middle schools, and one representing private and parochial schools. The public schools within the city of Detroit also have a representative.

To assure representation from females and minorities that might not occur through the election process, the MHSAA Constitution requires that the Council examine its makeup after each election and appoint up to a maximum of four persons at any one time to help address those deficiencies. The Council sometimes uses this appointment process to bring better representation to a part of the state that is underrepresented through the election process.

It goes almost without saying that nearly all of the Council members participated in competitive school sports and are the parents of participants in interscholastic athletics.

All in all, it’s a team with breadth and depth that touches most of the constituent bases of high school sports in Michigan.

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.