The Top Task

April 17, 2018

I’ve said and written many times before that the task of an athletic administrator is not merely event management, it is also – and more importantly – message management. It is defining and defending educational athletics. Doing so every day, in every way. Forcing our constituents, from top to bottom and both young and old, to ask and answer ...

“What is educational athletics?”
“What is the meaning of success in school sports?”
“How do we deliver the message every day?”

This is why I’ve blogged twice a week for nine years. Eighty percent of those postings have been intended to help define and defend educational athletics.

This is why the MHSAA publishes benchmarks – the only issues-focused high school association magazine in the US.

This is why we have a Student Advisory Council, a Scholar-Athlete Award, a Battle of the Fans, Captains Clinics and Sportsmanship Summits.

This is why we take our coaches education – the Coaches Advancement Program – face to face, week after week, to every corner of our state.

This is why we have a Task Force on Multi-Sport Participation.

This is why we have a radio network and waive fees for local stations which use our great public service announcements that define and defend educational athletics ... many of which conclude with the phrase, “Promoting the value and values of educational athletics.”

All of this, and much more, is about defining and defending educational athletics ... the top task of athletic administrators from top to bottom of our exciting enterprise.

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.