Slow to Seeding

April 11, 2016

While it is an inevitable topic of discussion, it is not inevitable that the MHSAA Girls and Boys Basketball Tournaments will involve seeding of any significant scope.

The fact that there was no seeding proposal even considered by the MHSAA Basketball Committee this year is indicative of two facts:

There are many people who are totally against seeding the MHSAA Basketball Tournaments; and

Those who favor seeding cannot agree on how to do it.

It is possible that someday there will be limited seeding that does not involve margin of victory or cause additional travel for participating teams – perhaps placing the top two teams of a geographic District onto opposite District tournament brackets, or perhaps seeding the four teams that reach the Semifinals in each class.

Proposals that encourage teams to run up scores during the regular season or send teams to Districts outside their geographic area and/or involve the Regional tournament level are less likely to win favor. And, of course, the devil is in the details of the criteria for determining which teams are better than others.

The MHSAA Representative Council has taken the position that if seeding is to occur in MHSAA tournaments, it will be considered on a sport-by-sport and level-by-level basis. While some MHSAA tournaments already have seeding at one level or another, the Council knows that seeding for some sports and some tournament levels of other sports may never be acceptable.

The MHSAA Representative Council is also wise enough to know that seeding is really not an important topic, at least in comparison to the compelling health and safety issues to which the Council has been devoting great time and money during this decade.

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.