Visualizing Transfers

January 30, 2018

There are two visual aids to bring to the discussion of the transfer rule serving school sports in Michigan.

One visual is of a continuum, of a line drawn across a page, with 50 dots representing the transfer rules of the 50 states, with the more liberal or lenient rules to the left and the more conservative or strict rules to the right.

The dot for Michigan’s rule would be well to the left of center. The basic rule calls for an approximately one-semester wait for eligibility after a transfer, but with immediate eligibility if one of the 15 stated exceptions applies to the student’s circumstances.

The majority of states have a longer period of ineligibility and fewer built-in exceptions.

The second visual is of a playground teeter totter.

Sitting at one end are the majority of school administrators of Michigan (about two-thirds) who want a tougher and tighter transfer rule, with a longer period of ineligibility and fewer exceptions.

At the other end of the teeter totter is parents of school-age children, some unmeasured portion of which believe there should be no limitations in how or where they educate their children, whom they believe should have full and immediate access to all school programs at any school they choose for their children.

In the center, at the teeter totter’s fulcrum, is the Michigan High School Athletic Association, helping parents hear school administrators, and vice versa.

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.