Seeding Thoughts

December 9, 2014

The 2014 MHSAA Update Meeting Opinion Poll asked for constituent attitudes about two ideas for seeding MHSAA tournaments; and each idea received support from approximately two-thirds of more than 500 survey respondents.
The slightly more popular idea is to seed at the highest level of team tournaments where all finalists are gathered in one place, as we do at present for the MHSAA Team Wrestling Tournament.
Nearly as popular is the idea to seed at the lowest or entry level of team tournaments, placing the best two teams of each of the geography-based entry level tournaments (usually the District level, sometimes the Regional level) on the top and bottom lines of the tournament bracket, followed by a blind draw to fill the other bracket lines.
There is nothing inherently good or bad about seeding. It’s possible that seeding is good for one sport, but not another. If it can be done without too much controversy and if it has the potential to increase crowds without increasing travel costs for schools and the MHSAA, then seeding may make sense.
The constituents involved in one sport may see value in seeding, while those in another sport may not. Different decisions have been made in boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse; the same may occur in softball vs. baseball, for example.
The route to seeding is through the MHSAA Classification Committee for general review and through each respective sport committee for detailed analysis and development of specific proposals to the Representative Council.

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.