Storm Surge

September 29, 2017

We have all been glued to our video devices for gruesome scenes from hurricane-ravaged portions of this hemisphere. In terms of scope and duration, the devastation is unlike anything any of us can remember so close to home; and it’s hard to say this ... including Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Within a few weeks of destruction in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, the Michigan High School Athletic Association had established procedures for expediting the consideration of athletic eligibility of students who had evacuated uninhabitable areas and arrived in our communities without the usual records required to establish athletic eligibility in MHSAA member schools.

On Sept. 6 of this year, the MHSAA Executive Committee revisited the 2005 experience and set a course for making eligibility decisions for evacuees from Texas, Florida and other locations, should they arrive in Michigan communities. Key elements for making favorable eligibility decisions are:

  1. The student’s previous school has ceased to operate.

  2. The student’s previous residence is uninhabitable. Dwellings are presumed to have been uninhabitable for at least a brief time in specific zip codes to be designated.

  3. The student has been ordered to evacuate from his/her previous community.

  4. The student has relocated to Michigan in a permanent type of housing (not hotel) with his/her parents or only living parent and has enrolled at the public school serving that residence, the closest public school academy to the residence, or the closest nonpublic school to the new residence, pursuant to Interpretation 62.

Should Michigan schools receive a surge of storm victims this fall, we are prepared to act quickly on athletic eligibility.

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.