43 Percent of Athletes are Multi-Sport

August 19, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly 
Second Half editor

Nearly 43 percent of athletes at MHSAA member high schools continued to participate in two or more sports in 2018-19, according to the Multi-Sport Participation Survey, reinforcing similar data collected for the first time two years ago and providing a foundation for work by the MHSAA’s Multi-Sport Task Force as it prepares to continue efforts this fall to promote the multi-sport high school experience.

Early and intense sport specialization has become one of the most serious issues related to health and safety at all levels of youth sports, as overuse injuries and burnout among athletes have been tied to chronic injuries and health-related problems later in life. In early 2016, the MHSAA appointed the Task Force on Multi-Sport Participation as part of a continued effort to promote and protect participant health and address the issues leading to early sport specialization.

The multi-sport participation survey was created in 2018 to provide data on the prevalence of sport specialization at MHSAA member high schools. This year’s survey received responses from 82.9 percent of member high schools and measured how multi-sport participation exists at schools. The collection of survey results annually is expected to show how schools are succeeding in promoting a multi-sport high school experience, providing another tool as schools work to guide students toward a well-rounded interscholastic sports career.

From schools that responded to this year’s survey, 42.9 percent of students participated in athletics in 2018-19 – 46.3 percent of boys and 39.5 percent of girls. The overall participation number was up nearly half a percent from 2017-18 (42.5), with the boys percentage holding steady and the girls increasing nearly a full percent from a year ago. Class D schools – those with the smallest enrollments – again enjoyed the highest percentage of athletes among the entire student body, at 57.1 percent, followed by Class C (50.7), Class B (45.8) and Class A (39.4).

Of those athletes counted by responding schools, 43 percent participated in more than one sport – including 45.1 percent of boys and 40.4 percent of girls – with all three of those percentages nearly identical to those derived from the first survey a year ago. Class D again enjoyed the highest percentage of multi-sport athletes, 61.8 percent, followed by Class C (56.7), Class B (48.7) and Class A (35.4).

Similar results for overall sport participation and multi-sport participation relative to enrollment size were seen by further breaking down Class A into schools of fewer than 1,000 students, 1,000-1,500 students, 1,501-2,000 students and more than 2,000 students. Similarly to 2017-18 for both sport participation as a whole and multi-sport participation specifically, the smallest Class A schools continued to enjoy the highest percentages, while percentages then decreased for every larger size group of schools.

Also of note, the percentage of two-sport athletes at every school measure around one-third of athletes – from 29.2 percent at Class A schools to 35.7 at Class B, 37.2 at Class C and 35.6 at Class D. However the number of athletes participating in three sports decreased substantially relative to the increase in school enrollment, with 22.5 percent of Class D athletes playing three sports, 18.2 in Class C, 12.4 in Class B and 6.0 percent in Class A.

The MHSAA Task Force on Multi-Sport Participation will be meeting this fall to discuss creating a program to measure multi-sport participation at MHSAA member schools and to recognize “achievers” – that is, schools that surpass the norm given their enrollment and other factors that affect school sports participation.

For 2018-19, in Class A, Marquette posted the highest percentage of multi-sport athletes with 85.9 percent, up 3.3 percent from its top-ranking Class A percentage from 2017-18. Grand Rapids Northview also topped 80 percent multi-sport participation, with 83.1 percent of its athletes playing two or more sports. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Detroit East English and Gibraltar Carlson all saw multi-sport participation from at least 70 percent of their athletes.

In Class B, four schools again achieved at least 80 percent multi-sport participation – Coloma (87.2 percent), Gladstone (86.7), Flat Rock (83.2) and Dundee (80.2), while 10 schools had 70 percent or more athletes playing at least two sports.

Six Class C schools reported more than 80 percent of its athletes taking part in more than one sport – Schoolcraft (87.1), Mayville (86.2), Manton (85.3), Houghton Lake (84.9), Cass City (84.7) and Decatur (83.5) – and 12 schools total with 75 percent or more athletes participating in multiple sports. There were 14 Class D schools with multi-sport participation at 80.9 percent or higher, with Gaylord St. Mary (93.2), Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (91.5) and Watersmeet (90.3) topping the survey not just for Class D but among all schools that responded.

The full summary report on the Multi-Sport Participation Survey is available on the “Health & Safety” page of the MHSAA Website.

Parking, Entrance Protocols Announced For 2023 11-Player Football Finals at Ford Field

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

November 19, 2023

To provide for the convenience and safety of spectators attending the Michigan High School Athletic Association 11-Player Football Finals on Nov. 25 and 26 at Ford Field in Detroit, attendees are being advised of a variety of items related to transportation and security – including policies regarding parking, seating and types of bags allowed into the stadium.

Parking will be available in Ford Field facilities and lots to the east and north of the stadium and costs $8. A map identifying the designated Ford Field lots (4, 5 and 6) and parking deck can be found on the Football page under “Tracking the Tournament.” (There also are a number of privately-operated parking facilities close to Ford Field, but their pricing may differ.)

Fans also are advised that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Ford Field parking facilities and lots, and smoking – including use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers – is prohibited inside the stadium. Tailgating, including the setting up and use of grilling equipment, also is not allowed.

Tickets are priced at $20 and allow a fan to see all four games in a single day. Tickets are available for purchase at the door (cash or credit accepted), from participating schools, or online from Ford Field via Ticketmaster – links to order tickets both days also are on the MHSAA Website football page. Spectators leaving the stadium will be required to purchase another ticket for re-entry. Infants able to be held in arms will be admitted without charge for this event. There will not be a public Will Call window.

Spectators may enter Ford Field at Gates A & B. Upon arrival in the building, fans will find their designated seating areas on the South side of the field if their team is the designated home team for their contest and on the North side for the designated visiting team. Home teams this weekend are Belleville, Warren De La Salle Collegiate, Mason, Harper Woods, Corunna, Almont, Jackson Lumen Christi and Ottawa Lake Whiteford. Brightly-lit video boards above the seating areas will display the names of the participating teams each day, and fans should sit on the side of the stadium where they see their school’s name. For general fans, the entire lower bowl of Ford Field will be open for the event.

Security measures also will be in place to help assure spectator safety. Fans will be subject to metal detector screening, and Ford Field personnel reserve the right to request patrons open their coats, bags and other item-carrying vessels for visual inspection and deny entrance to individuals who do not cooperate. Spectators should remove cell phones, cameras, keys and other large metal objects before passing through the metal detectors.

Items which fans will be prohibited from bringing into the building include, but are not limited to, the following: 

*  Purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, book bags, diaper bags, fanny packs, cinch bags, grocery & paper bags; duffle bags, computer bags or luggage of any kind.
*  Aerosol cans (hairspray, mace, pepper spray, etc.) 

*  Animals (except service animals to aid guests with disabilities)
*  Balloons (air or helium)
*  Balls (beach balls, footballs, etc.)
*  Banners or large flags

*  Cameras with lenses longer than five inches or any detachable lens. Selfie Sticks also are prohibited.
*  Chairs including folding chairs or stools
*  Decals, stickers, confetti or glitter
*  Drones and/or remote-controlled aircraft

*  Electronic equipment including laptop computers, video recorders (hand-held video cameras are allowed), tripods and wearable video cameras including Go Pros.
*  Fireworks 
*  Flashlights

*  Food, beverages – including water – or liquids (cans, bottles, boxes, flasks, etc.) 
*  Illegal substances 
*  Knives, pocketknives, box cutters, scissors, etc. 
*  Laser pointers 
*  Marijuana including medically prescribed electronic accessories or paraphernalia associated with marijuana or illegal narcotics use.
*  Markers (permanent) and/or paint 
*  Noisemaking devices (bells, horns, kazoos, whistles, etc.) 
*  Objects that can be used as missiles or projectiles (sticks, poles, bats, clubs, Frisbees, etc.) 
*  Strollers and infant car seats or carriers 
*  Umbrellas (large size)
*  Weapons 
*  Wrapped gifts

The following items may be permitted after inspection

*  Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc or similar). An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at the Gate.
* Infant items in a clear bag (bottles and formula) only if accompanied by a child
* Binoculars and binoculars cases not exceeding 4½ inches by 6½ inches may be brought in via one of the clear plastic bag options. 
*  Cameras (lenses may not measure longer than five inches or be detachable, and no tripods or extension cords)
*  Small radios (no larger than the size of a football and used with an earpiece)
*  Small, compact umbrellas (must be placed securely under seat)
*  Posters and signs without poles or sticks, or larger than what one person can hold. 
*  Tablets (iPads, Kindles, etc.)
*  Seat cushions not exceeding 15 inches by 15 inches. Seat cushions also must not contain arm rests, zippers, pockets, flaps or metal backs.

The complete list of prohibited items can be found on the Detroit Lions website. Prohibited items that are discovered during security inspections at stadium entrances must be returned to the owner's vehicle or discarded. Items will not be held for later pickup. 

Fans are reminded that all image taking (still and video) may be only for personal, non-commercial use.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.