And the MHSAA Survey Says ...

April 2, 2015

By Rob Kaminski
MHSAA benchmarks editor

A survey of MHSAA member schools was conducted in the fall of 2014 aimed to determine opinions for and against a myriad of out-of-season coaching/contact period topics within the school year.

Below are some of the summaries drawn from that survey, plus a map of zones referred to in a number of points.

Survey Summary and Highlights

The larger the school, the higher the percentage of students who are involved in organized non-school sports.

The Detroit metro area (Zone 3) has the highest percentage of respondents in each of two groups in which the highest percentage of students are involved in organized non-school sports ... the 60 to 80% and 40 to 60% groups. The Grand Rapids area (Zone 6) ranks second.

The northern Lower Peninsula (Zone 7) and the Upper Peninsula (Zone 8) have the highest percentage of respondents in the group in which the lowest percentage of students are involved in organized non-school sports . . . the 0 to 20% group. This is also true of Zones 1, 2 and 5, although less dramatically.

In the majority of schools, coaches work with students out of season under the three- or four-player rule for a few weeks just before the season. This is generally true regardless of school classification or geographic zone.

In nearly 80% of schools, the frequency of coaches working with students out of season under the three- or four-player rule is one or two days a week.

100% of schools that sponsor basketball hold open gyms for basketball. Two-thirds of volleyball schools hold volleyball open gyms. Half of lacrosse schools hold lacrosse open gyms. Open gyms in baseball, softball and soccer occur in 40 to 45% of responding schools. Open gyms are less common for other sports.

More than half of all schools conduct open gyms for only a few weeks, just before the season begins.

In 85% of schools, the frequency of open gyms is one or two days a week.

The multi-sport athlete is common in schools of every classification, but more common in Class C and D schools than in Class A and B.

The multi-sport athlete is common in schools of every geographical zone, but more common in Zones 1, 2, 4, 7 and 8 than in Zones 3, 5 and 6.

Two-thirds of schools do not ban athletes from out-of-season workouts while in-season in a different school sport. Permitting weightlifting is most common (84%), then three- or four-player workouts (70%), then conditioning (66%) and open gyms (65%), and finally non-school competitions (57%).

Single-sport coaches are more common in smaller schools than larger (perhaps because fewer sports are sponsored in smaller schools).

For one question, schools were asked to rate ideas from 1 (I like the concept) to 6 (I do not like the concept). Average would be 3.5.

More than 60% of schools favor a no-contact period for all out-of-season sports at the start of every other sport’s season. (Support ranges from 55% for Class A schools to 65% for Class D schools and from 56% for Zones 1 and 3 to 71% for Zone 7.)

More than 72% of schools favor (in conjunction with a no-contact period) a defined contact period out of season. Support ranges from 69% for Class B schools to 76% for Class D schools and from 64% in Zone 6 to 88% in Zone 1.

Two-thirds of schools favor setting a limit on the number of contact days for out-of-season coaching. Support ranges from 63% for Class A schools to 72% for Class C schools and from 50% for Zone 2 to 73% for Zone 1.

More than 68% of schools favor setting a limit on the number of contact days in a week. There’s almost no difference based on school class. Support ranges from 58% in Zone 6 to 76% in Zone 5.

Counting days more than players – that is, allowing practice with any number of students for a defined number of days over a period of time – is favored by more than 72% of schools. Support ranges from 69% for Class D to 76% for Class A and from 59% for Zone 5 to 76.5% for Zone 3.

The least support of any idea surveyed was for allowing scrimmage competition (allowing the coach to coach any number of students from that coach’s school in competition against individuals not enrolled in that school).

More than 62% of schools favor a rule that would allow a school coach to coach a non-school team within a defined contact period; that is, a team with students from the coach’s school (and possibly other schools too), but not supported with school funds, administration, insurance, uniforms, etc. Support ranged from 58% for Class C schools to 68% for Class B schools. Support ranged from 54% for Zone 2 to 69% for Zone 6.

This is the most popular proposal (doesn’t preclude others being approved too): 84% of schools favor removing the phrase “under one roof” from Regulation II, Section 11(H) 2 a (see Tuesday's report). Support ranged from 80% for Class D schools to 86% for Class C schools and from 78% in Zone 2 to 89% for Zone 5.

Removing the portion of Interpretation 237 which prohibits setting up rotations that would allow a coach to work with dozens of players who rotate to his/her direct attention in groups of three or four is favored by 69% of schools, but with a distinct large school vs. small school difference of opinion: Class A (80.5% favorable), Class B (72.9%), Class C (61.3%) and Class D (61.7%).

2023 Forsythe Award Celebrates Leinaar's 40 Years Dedicated to School Sports

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 8, 2023

Few people in Michigan have had a longer-lasting influence on the rules and policies of educational athletics than Frankfort’s Karen Leinaar, who has served in several roles locally, statewide and nationally over more than 40 years contributing to the school sports community.

Thank you, Bill Baker.

The longtime teacher, coach, principal and superintendent during a career that stretched across multiple schools – including Leinaar’s growing up, Delton Kellogg – made an impression on the standout multi-sport athlete before she graduated from high school in 1977. Baker’s philosophy and work led Leinaar to study education at Michigan State University and then brought her back as Delton’s athletic director to begin four decades of making the same impact on children in her hometown and eventually in hometowns all over Michigan and beyond.

Baker died in 2009, but not before continuing to mentor Leinaar through many good times and tough ones.

“The man had two daughters that I grew up with, his wife was a teacher, and he demonstrated to all of us – he never missed an event – that we were important to him. That even though we weren’t his kids, we were his kids and athletics was a way to help kids become better people – and for some kids it was the only thing that they had positive in their life,” Leinaar said. “And he made it known just to that individual kid how important their participation was and their involvement, and how that helped them become the person that they were.

“That to me was such an example of how to help people be good people, that I just took that role on.”

It’s a role in which she continues to serve. Leinaar began her career as an athletic administrator in 1982, and as the interim athletic director currently at Frankfort High School is serving her fifth district in that position. Since June 2019, she also has served as executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), the professional organization for school sports administrators in the state with a membership of nearly 700.

Leinaar accepts the MHSAA's Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998. To recognize that longtime and continuing impact, Leinaar has been named the 2023 honoree for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Charles E. Forsythe Award.

The annual award is in its 46th year and named after former MHSAA Executive Director Charles E. Forsythe, the Association's first full-time and longest-serving chief executive. Forsythe Award recipients are selected each year by the MHSAA Representative Council, based on an individual's outstanding contributions to the interscholastic athletics community.

Leinaar also served 22 years on the MHSAA’s Representative Council and a four-year term from 2009-13 on the Board of Directors for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and just last week was named to the 2023 class of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Hall of Fame.

“It is impossible even to estimate the number of students, coaches, administrators and others who have been affected by the work Karen Leinaar has done to make school sports the best they can be – not only in her communities, but across Michigan and throughout the country,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “There are few who have equaled her dedication and her support and promotion of the ideals of school-based sports. She has always placed an emphasis on being in the room, on the field or at the arena, actively participating in her leadership roles, and our programs are better for it.”

Leinaar first served as athletic director at Delton Kellogg for nearly 17 years, from March 1982 through October 1998. She spent three years at Gaylord, then 8½ at Benzie Central before taking over at Bear Lake in November 2010 and spending the next decade organizing athletic programs for students in grades 5-12 before retiring in January 2021. She came out of retirement to return to the athletic director’s chair this past fall as interim AD at Frankfort. She has completed nearly four years as MIAAA executive director, moving into that position after previously serving nine years as an assistant to the executive.

Leinaar began her service on the Representative Council in Fall 1999 and completed her last term as a statewide at-large representative at the Fall 2021 meeting.

She has been honored several times for her contributions. She received the MHSAA’s Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998, a Citation from the NFHS in 2000, and she was named MIAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2001. She received an MHSAA’s Allen W. Bush Award in 2014 – recognition given for work done generally behind the scenes and with little attention.

“This is the top of the mountain, per se. This one does mean so much,” Leinaar said of the Forsythe Award. “The names that are associated with this over the years, I never thought I’d be put in that group.”

Leinaar remains a continuous source of support at a multitude of MHSAA championship events, and during her time on Council was one of the most frequent representatives handing out trophies and medals to champions and runners-up at Finals events. She began while athletic director at Delton Kellogg hosting the MHSAA Volleyball Finals in Class B and Class C and continues to assist with those championships now played at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

She also hosted Competitive Cheer Finals at Delton Kellogg in 1996 and 1997, Ski Finals while at Gaylord, and many more championship events across the Lower Peninsula. She continues to assist at the MHSAA’s Lower Peninsula Cross Country and Track & Field Finals.

After attending Delton Kellogg High School, Leinaar earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, health and recreation, with a minor in driver education, from MSU in 1982. She completed a master’s in athletic administration from Western Michigan University in 1994.

Leinaar has been a member for 40 years of both the MIAAA and NIAAA, and has served as chairperson of the MIAAA Annual Conference and awards chairperson for both the state and national bodies. She’s also served as chairperson of the MIAAA’s Exemplary Athletic Program.

Past recipients of the Charles E. Forsythe Award 

1978 - Brick Fowler, Port Huron; Paul Smarks, Warren 
1979 - Earl Messner, Reed City; Howard Beatty, Saginaw 
1980 - Max Carey, Freesoil 
1981 - Steven Sluka, Grand Haven; Samuel Madden, Detroit
1982 - Ernest Buckholz, Mt. Clemens; T. Arthur Treloar, Petoskey
1983 - Leroy Dues, Detroit; Richard Maher, Sturgis 
1984 - William Hart, Marquette; Donald Stamats, Caro
1985 - John Cotton, Farmington; Robert James, Warren 
1986 - William Robinson, Detroit; Irving Soderland, Norway 
1987 - Jack Streidl, Plainwell; Wayne Hellenga, Decatur 
1988 - Jack Johnson, Dearborn; Alan Williams, North Adams
1989 - Walter Bazylewicz, Berkley; Dennis Kiley, Jackson 
1990 - Webster Morrison, Pickford; Herbert Quade, Benton Harbor 
1991 - Clifford Buckmaster, Petoskey; Donald Domke, Northville 
1992 - William Maskill, Kalamazoo; Thomas G. McShannock, Muskegon 
1993 - Roy A. Allen Jr., Detroit; John Duncan, Cedarville 
1994 - Kermit Ambrose, Royal Oak 
1995 - Bob Perry, Lowell 
1996 - Charles H. Jones, Royal Oak 
1997 - Michael A. Foster, Richland; Robert G. Grimes, Battle Creek 
1998 - Lofton C. Greene, River Rouge; Joseph J. Todey, Essexville 
1999 - Bernie Larson, Battle Creek 
2000 - Blake Hagman, Kalamazoo; Jerry Cvengros, Escanaba 
2001 - Norm Johnson, Bangor; George Lovich, Canton 
2002 - John Fundukian, Novi 
2003 - Ken Semelsberger, Port Huron
2004 - Marco Marcet, Frankenmuth
2005 - Jim Feldkamp, Troy
2006 - Dan McShannock, Midland; Dail Prucka, Monroe
2007 - Keith Eldred, Williamston; Tom Hickman, Spring Lake
2008 - Jamie Gent, Haslett; William Newkirk, Sanford Meridian
2009 - Paul Ellinger, Cheboygan
2010 - Rudy Godefroidt, Hemlock; Mike Boyd, Waterford
2011 - Eric C. Federico, Trenton
2012 - Bill Mick, Midland
2013 - Jim Gilmore, Tecumseh; Dave Hutton, Grandville
2014 - Dan Flynn, Escanaba

2015 - Hugh Matson, Saginaw
2016 - Gary Hice, Petoskey; Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2017 - Chuck Nurek, Rochester Hills
2018 - Gary Ellis, Allegan
2019 - Jim Derocher, Negaunee; Fredrick J. Smith, Stevensville
2020 - Michael Garvey, Lawton
2021 - Leroy Hackley Jr., Byron Center; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2022 - Bruce Horsch, Houghton

PHOTOS (Top) Karen Leinaar, left, awards the 2022 Division 4 volleyball finalist trophy to Indian River Inland Lakes coach Nicole Moore. (Middle) Leinaar accepts the MHSAA's Women In Sports Leadership Award in 1998.