Bush Awards Honor 4 for Dedication
June 19, 2018
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Three athletic directors who have provided decades of memory-making opportunities for student-athletes – East Lansing’s Tom Hunt, Troy’s Michael Jolly and Ann Arbor’s Meg Seng – and a member of the media, St. Ignace’s David Latva, who is beloved for documenting those moments, have been named recipients of the MHSAA’s Allen W. Bush Award for 2018.
Al Bush served as executive director of the MHSAA for 10 years. The award honors individuals for past and continuing service to prep athletics as a coach, administrator, official, trainer, doctor or member of the media. The award was developed to bring recognition to men and women who are giving and serving without a lot of attention. This is the 27th year of the award, with selections made by the MHSAA's Representative Council.
“A common theme tying together this class of honorees is how they’ve used various talents to enrich the experiences of Michigan student-athletes,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “All four have played roles in their own ways, and often without the fanfare their contributions deserve. It is our pleasure to recognize them with Bush Awards.”
Hunt recently announced his retirement after 20 years as an athletic administrator, the last 16 at East Lansing High School after serving at Perry for three years and Lansing Waverly for one. During his tenure, Trojans teams have had success at local and larger levels – the girls basketball, boys golf, boys soccer, boys tennis, and boys and girls track & field teams all won MHSAA Finals championships under his department leadership. In addition to his duties as East Lansing athletic & activities director, he served as the district’s Title IX coordinator.
East Lansing, Waverly and Perry all were frequent MHSAA Tournament hosts at the District, Regional and Semifinal levels under Hunt’s direction. He served on a variety of MHSAA committees, providing input on specific sports, officials, tournament site selection or selection of the MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Awards. As part of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) for two decades, Hunt was named Regional Athletic Director of the Year in 2011 and his region’s representative in 2013 and 2015. He also served terms as president of the Capital Area Activities Conference and former Ingham County League.
Hunt previously was a contributing member of the Michigan Recreation & Park Association (MRPA), having served as vice president and state conference chairperson in 1996 as well as athletic committee chairperson and basketball commissioner. Prior to beginning at Perry as athletic director in 1998, Hunt served as assistant director of parks & recreation in Howell, and he was the first boys soccer coach in Howell High School history and coached baseball there as well. He also coached baseball and was an assistant for hockey at East Lansing, and has volunteered over the years as a youth coach for soccer, hockey, softball and baseball. Hunt is a graduate of Michigan State University and Battle Creek St. Philip High School.
“Tom Hunt has set an example of prioritizing students, and not only for encouraging their athletic participation but their development as well-rounded athletes, academic achievers and citizens,” Roberts said. “He is a true professional who embodies the role of athletic director – he leads by this example, yet with many of his contributions unheralded while the programs under his guidance continue to succeed at the highest levels.”
Jolly also is retiring, with nearly three decades in administration. He took over as District Athletic Director in Troy in August 2004 after previously serving four years as assistant principal/athletic director and then four as principal at Boyd Arthurs Middle School in Trenton. He also taught and served as an assistant middle school principal for three years in the New Boston Huron district and taught and then added athletic director duties over two years at Hale. He coached during his first two stops, varsity basketball and softball at Hale and varsity football and track & field at New Boston Huron.
At Troy, Jolly has overseen staff and facilities for two high schools and four middle schools. During his tenure, Troy schools have added skiing and bowling programs as well as non-MHSAA rugby and figure skating, and kept gymnastics available by creating a cooperative program. Under his leadership, the district also has been a frequent host of MHSAA Tournament games at various levels, including Division 1 Football Semifinals 14 consecutive seasons. Jolly served as the chairperson of the Oakland Activities Association football committee for 12 years and as league president in 2008-09, and he was president of the Oakland County Athletic Directors Association in 2009-10 and was named its Athletic Director of the Year in 2012. He also served as director of the Troy district’s K-12 physical education and career technical education departments and as director of enrichment for the district. He served as president of the Oakland Career & Technical Educators Association in 2015-16.
After graduating from Southgate Aquinas High School, Jolly earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan and a master’s from Central Michigan University. He played football for the Wolverines and then for four seasons for the Green Bay Packers. He is a member of both the MIAAA and National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA).
“From his contributions in athletics to his many outside of athletics as well, Mike Jolly continuously has shown himself to be an advocate for students and their education,” Roberts said. “His various duties alone are evidence of that commitment – as are the extra steps he’s always quick to take when needed and the mentorship he’s provided to those who are following in his path.”
Seng completed her 28th year at Greenhills School and has served as the athletic director the last 15 after 13 teaching physical education and health. She has hosted MHSAA tournament events in various sports at various levels and served on a variety of MHSAA committees and the Multi-Sport Participation Task Force. She also is an instructor for the MHSAA Coaches Advancement Program and has served as part of the MIAAA’s Leadership Academy faculty since 2011, and on the NIAAA’s certification committee since 2014. She completed a term as the MIAAA’s Executive Board president in 2013-14.
After graduating from Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Ill., Seng played both volleyball and softball at Indiana University and then coached at the college level before taking over the Ann Arbor Huron volleyball program in 1985. Over 12 seasons stretching two tenures, Seng led her team to five league titles and a District championship in 1993. She also served as Huron's co-head varsity softball coach from 1986-90. Seng completed her teacher certification at Eastern Michigan University in 1990 and began teaching at Greenhills that year, later coaching that school’s varsity volleyball team from 1993-2000.
Seng received the MIAAA Jack Johnson Distinguished Service Award in 2012 and her region’s Athletic Director of the Year Award in 2008. She also received the Pathfinder Award in 2004 from the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports (NAGWS), and under her leadership Greenhills received the Exemplary Athletic Program Award from the MIAAA in 2017. She was honored with the Girl Scouts’ Leaders and Best Award in 2005 and most recently selected for the MHSAA’s 31st Women In Sports Leadership Award this past February.
“Meg Seng understands the needs at every level of sport, having participated as a successful athlete, coach and now administrator,” Roberts said. “It is impossible to not admire her vision as she not only leads the Greenhills athletic department but teaches her peers how to recognize and provide for those needs.”
Retired journalist David Latva dedicated 30 years to chronicling the achievements of high school athletes. A St. Ignace graduate, Latva went on to report as the lead sportswriter for the St. Ignace News from 1987-2016 covering communities in the eastern Upper Peninsula. He was a member of the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association from 1989-2017 and served on the board of the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame from 2008-16. He also was a frequent Upper Peninsula representative on The Associated Press’ all-state selection committees.
Latva’s contributions to schools reached past sports writing. He was a registered MHSAA official for basketball (19 seasons), football (18) and track & field (18) during the 1970s and 1980s, and served eight years on the St. Ignace Area Schools Board of Education. He also coached the St. Ignace golf team for three years.
Latva was named to the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan media Hall of Honor in 2005 and received a Distinguished Service Award from the St. Ignace LaSalle High School Hall of Fame in 2012. He received a key to the city from the St. Ignace City Council in 2016 and has been recognized in various ways by other communities in his paper’s coverage area.
“Many who have played school sports in the eastern Upper Peninsula have been impacted by David Latva because of the importance he placed on his local athletes’ achievements, both great and small,” Roberts said. “As the chronicler of those achievements, David has cemented a permanent place in favorite memories for many whose stories he told over the years, and he earned a significant role in those communities by sharing that gift.”
Rep Council Adjusts, Expands Out-of-State Competition Opportunities at Spring Meeting
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
May 12, 2023
Substantial changes to the rules governing out-of-state competition by Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools were among the most notable actions taken by the MHSAA’s Representative Council during its annual Spring Meeting, May 6-7 in Gaylord.
The Spring Meeting of the 19-member legislative body of the Association’s more than 1,500 member schools is generally the busiest of its sessions each year. The Council considered 31 committee proposals and dealt with a variety of eligibility rule, postseason tournament and operational issues.
The most far-reaching changes approved by the Council shifts the MHSAA rules regarding competitions against out-of-state opponents. Moving forward, MHSAA member schools may continue to compete against teams from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario – but also may compete against teams from elsewhere in the United States as long as those competitions take place in Michigan, one of those five contiguous states or Ontario. The Council voted to remove the allowance for MHSAA member schools to travel up to 300 miles to play an out-of-state opponent; MHSAA member schools still can compete against those opponents, but competition must take place in Michigan or one of the states/province listed above. Any event including schools from outside of Michigan or those contiguous states/province must receive approval by the MHSAA and each state high school association with a team involved in order for MHSAA member schools to be allowed to participate.
In an effort to strengthen the undue influence regulation, the Council approved a change making it a violation for coaches or their representatives to connect via social media with students from another high school or with a student prior to ninth grade who has not yet enrolled in a high school or participated in an athletic practice or competition as a high school student. Violations of this rule include connecting via social media with a “follow,” “friend request” or “direct message” to a student. The Council also expanded the portion of the undue influence regulation that doesn’t allow coaches and representatives to visit prospective athletes and their families at the families’ homes to not allow them to visit athletes and families at “other locations” as well.
The Council approved an expansion in the use of video to determine penalties when there is a bench-clearing situation or other incident where team members enter the area of competition during an altercation. MHSAA staff, based on video evidence, will be allowed to assess additional penalties including ejections and suspensions to team members, coaches and other staff who enter those areas to participate or engage in such an altercation.
Concerning specific sports, changes to three stand out from several adopted by the Council.
The Council approved three Bowling Committee recommendations affecting postseason competition in that sport. The first reorganizes Regional competition to eight sites, with each qualifying the top two teams and top seven singles for both girls and boys competitions to the Finals (instead of the previous six sites qualifying three teams and 10 singles for both girls and boys). The Council also approved a proposal to change the Team Finals match play to a head-to-head, best-of-five Baker game format. Finally, the Council approved a proposal to adopt the Phantom II oil pattern for all MHSAA Tournament competitions.
In girls volleyball, the Council approved a Volleyball Committee recommendation to begin seeding the top two teams in each District beginning with the 2024-25 school year. As is done currently with girls and boys basketball and girls and boys soccer, the top-two seeded teams in each District will be placed on opposite sides of the bracket, guaranteeing they will not play each other before the District Final. Seeding will be determined using the Michigan Power Rating (MPR) formula which takes into account regular-season success and strength of schedule. MPR is used to seed Districts in the same way in basketball and soccer.
In wrestling, the Council approved a Wrestling Committee recommendation adding two regular-season dual meets to the allowed number of wrestling contest dates. These must be dual meets and may not be converted into three-team (tri) or four-team (quad) meets. Teams and individuals now will be allowed 16 days of competition with no more than eight of those days allowed for tournament-type events where a wrestler competes more than twice.
Here is a summary of other notable actions taken by the Representative Council at the Spring Meeting, which will take effect during the 2023-24 school year unless noted:
• The Council approved a classification-related change for the MHSAA’s smallest member schools, allowing them to request participation of eighth and seventh-grade students, based on the high school’s enrollment. Schools with fewer than 125 students (instead of the previous 100) may request an MHSAA Executive Committee waiver to use eighth-grade students in all sports except football, ice hockey and wrestling. Schools with fewer than 75 students (instead of the previous 50) may make the same request to use seventh and eighth-grade students in all sports except those three. Schools requesting a waiver must show cause and rationale for those students’ participation.
• The Council approved a Sports Medicine Advisory Committee proposal requiring middle school head coaches to have valid, current CPR certification. Similar to the high school requirements for head coaches at all levels, this addition at the middle school level will ensure each team has at least one coach at each level present who is CPR-certified. This requirement will take effect with the 2024-25 school year, and schools will attest to its completion by the established deadline for each season.
• The Council approved an Officials Review Committee recommendation adjusting the minimum requirements for postseason consideration in wrestling, competitive cheer and soccer. In wrestling, officials must receive 75 coaches ratings (instead of the previous 100) to be considered for working a postseason meet. In girls competitive cheer, judges must be members in good standing of a Local Approved Association. In soccer, officials must work a minimum of five regular-season games (down from the previous 10) to be considered for the postseason.
• The Council also approved a Committee recommendation increasing the amount paid when an official arrives on site prior to a competition before receiving notice that competition has been canceled due to an “act of God” including weather that results in unplayable conditions. In these situations, officials will receive one-half of the contract fee (instead of the previous one-third).
• For baseball, the Council approved a change to when trophies will be awarded to Regional champions. Those trophies will be presented to both Regional champions after the Quarterfinal is concluded, as Regional Finals and the ensuing Quarterfinal are played at the same site on the same day and both Quarterfinal participants will have earned a Regional championship earlier that day.
• In addition to the Regional and Finals changes for bowling explained above, the Council also approved a Bowling Committee proposal seeking common start dates for practice and competition for Lower and Upper Peninsula teams. For the 2023-24 season, bowling teams in both peninsulas will begin practice Nov. 9 and competition Nov. 25. Previously, Upper Peninsula teams were allowed to begin their seasons slightly earlier – this past season four days sooner for practice and a week earlier for competition than their Lower Peninsula counterparts.
• The Council also approved a start date change in girls competitive cheer, proposed by the Competitive Cheer Committee, moving the practice start date to the second Monday before Thanksgiving. This shortens the season by one week, but also allows a more comfortable gap between the fall sideline cheer and winter competitive cheer seasons. This change will take effect with the 2024-25 school year.
• Also in cheer, the Council approved a Committee recommendation that adjusts the restricted period at the end of competitive cheer season to the Monday following Memorial Day, which will allow athletes to try out for sideline cheerleading for the upcoming season after the completion of the majority of spring-sport competitions.
• Additionally, the Council approved an exception to the MHSAA’s all-star regulation that will allow for individual competitive cheer and sideline cheer athletes to participate in an event that is “all-star” in name only as long as the selection components of the event comply with MHSAA regulations.
• In cross country and track & field, the Council approved Cross Country/Track & Field Committee recommendations to eliminate a pair of uniform-related rules adaptations designating the types of head attire that previously could be worn during cross country races and body adornments that previously were allowed to be worn during competitions in both sports.
• In golf, the Council approved a Golf Committee recommendation to require athletes to participate in at least four competitions for the high school team prior to representing that athlete’s school team in an MHSAA postseason golf competition. Those four regular-season competitions may be 9 or 18-hold events.
• A Council action in gymnastics will better define how athletes are assigned a division for the individual portion of the MHSAA Finals. Athletes are assigned either Division 1 or Division 2 based on past experience and skill level – Division 1 for those with the most – and the Council approved the allowance of the Xcel levels of Sapphire and Diamond to be part of the determining criteria. Athletes who have previously competed in a non-school event at either of these levels would be required to compete in the Division 1 level for MHSAA postseason competition.
• In tennis, the Council approved a Tennis Committee recommendation allowing in the Lower Peninsula for a No. 1 doubles pair from a non-qualifying team to advance from Regional to Finals competition if that pair finishes first or second at the Regional and the No. 1 singles player from that team also has qualified for the Finals individually by finishing first or second in Regional play. (Upper Peninsula tennis does not play a Regional.)
• The Council approved a Swimming & Diving Committee recommendation restructuring how qualifying times for Finals are determined in an effort to provide more entries in swimming events at the championship level. Moving forward, qualifying times will be determined based on the past five years of MHSAA race data, but also will account for past numbers of qualifiers in each swim race; qualifying times will be shifted to allow for more athletes to advance to the Finals in events where fields have not been full over the previous five seasons.
• The second swimming & diving recommendation approved by the Council assigned specific breaks during Finals competitions. During Friday preliminaries (swam in the Lower Peninsula only), 10-minute breaks will be placed between the 200-yard medley relay and 200 freestyle races, and between the 200 freestyle relay and 100 backstroke, with a 15-minute break between the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. The same 10-minute breaks will be mandated for Saturday Finals competitions, with a 15-minute break during Finals coming between the conclusion of diving and 100 butterfly races.
• For girls volleyball, the Council also approved a Volleyball Committee recommendation to permit the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) a 3-minute on-court presentation during the MHSAA Finals to recognize that season’s Miss Volleyball Award winner. The presentation will take place between the second and third sets of the Division 1 championship match.
Junior High/Middle School
• The Council voted to make permanent cross country and track & field competitions that have been conducted at a Regional level as part of a pilot program during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. The Council also voted to expand the number of sites per Junior High/Middle School Regional to allow for large-school (Divisions 1 and 2) and small-school (Divisions 3 and 4) meets for each of the eight Zones. Each participating junior high and middle school will be classified for its Regional meet based on the enrollment of the high school with which the junior high/middle school is connected.
The Council also reviewed reports on membership, with 750 senior high schools and 767 junior high/middle schools in 2022-22 plus 63 elementary schools with 6th-grader participation; cooperative programs, with 376 high school programs for 692 teams during 2023-23; eligibility advancement applications, which totaled three; the use of Educational Transfer Forms, of which there were 127; school violations, attendance at athletic director in-service workshops and Coaches Advancement Program sessions; officials’ registrations, rules meetings attendance and officials reports submitted for the past three sports seasons. The Association’s $13.3 million budget for the 2023-24 school year also was approved.
The Representative Council is the 19-member legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.
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 1.3 million spectators each year.