By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The Michigan High School Athletic Association and SuperFanHigh, a leading fan loyalty and engagement company, have launched a mobile app that will allow students, faculty, alumni, community members and all fans to earn prizes and college scholarships by showing support for high school basketball teams.
To participate, fans simply need to download the “Check-in Champ” app for free from the Apple iTunes or Google Play online stores and then check in at high school girls and boys basketball games they are attending this season. SuperFanHigh will track these check-ins and provide standings of fans who attend the most events statewide beginning Tuesday, Jan. 10. Fans “checking in” accrue points toward prizes including a total of $5,000 in college scholarships sponsored by MI Student Aid.
“The ‘Check-in Champ’ contest provides an exciting opportunity for our schools to promote their regular-season girls and boys basketball games,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “We’re eager to see how this will build more excitement at games, both during the regular season and the MHSAA tournament, and we’re appreciative of MI Student Aid for adding significant incentive for students and their families who support their classmates and communities.”
For the remainder of this Michigan high school boys and girls basketball season, fans who attend games will earn points. When registering on the app, fans must select their favorite school. Schools will be divided by Class: A, B, C and D. A $3,000 scholarship will be awarded to the fan who earns the most points overall across all four classes, and $500 scholarships will be awarded to fans who earn the most points in each class.
Only student fans will be eligible to use the college scholarships; however, fans who are not students may still compete for the scholarships and designate them for specific students should they win the contest. All fans, including those who are not students, will be able to earn app “badges” as they accrue points, and the top 100 point-getters will receive shirts printed to celebrate their accomplishment in the contest.
“We are excited about partnering with the MHSAA to launch this new app,” said Anne Wohlfert, Director of the Student Financial Services Bureau at the Michigan Department of Treasury. “We are pleased to offer $5,000 in scholarship dollars to the students who attend the most games. This joint venture aligns with our goals to provide high school students and their families with student financial resources and information.”
The app provides other information for students and fans including their selected schools’ boys and girls basketball team schedules, MHSAA news and an opportunity to share photos through a ‘fan cam.’ Participants may accrue bonus points by answering MHSAA basketball trivia questions and promoting their “check-ins” on social media.
SuperFanHigh is a division of its parent company, SuperFanU and provides fan experiences for more than 300 high schools and colleges/universities across the country. The company is leading the market in developing innovative platforms that allow the communication and marketing between students/fans and schools to be more engaging and efficient.
“We know that our partnership with MHSAA will yield lots of excitement this year across the state of Michigan,” says Kayla Mount, co-founder and COO of SuperFanU.
The Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association began examining several topics during its Fall Meeting, Dec. 1 in East Lansing – including start and end dates of the winter calendar, possible new transfer rule exceptions and emerging sports – that will shape its work during the winter and spring meetings of this 2023-24 school year.
Generally, the Council takes only a few actions during its Fall Meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and action during its meetings in March and May. The Council did take three actions this time as part of larger conversations expected to continue over the next six months.
The Council joined staff discussion on the start and end dates of winter seasons and the possibility of moving up both, which was among topics surveyed as part of the Update Meeting poll completed by administrators during the MHSAA’s annual presentations across the state this fall. Staff will prepare a recommendation for Council to review at a future meeting regarding the 2025-26 school year and beyond.
MHSAA staff also provided a variety of transfer rule issues encountered over the last year, and Council discussed the possibility of adding transfer rule exceptions related to military transfer families, fulltime school employee transfers and students returning from a sports academy or prep school and seeking immediate eligibility. The Council did adopt a change for multi-high school districts (with at least three high schools) that include both boundary and non-boundary schools that more clearly defined where students at those schools have immediate eligibility.
The Council also discussed possible new and emerging sports, including proposals for MHSAA sponsorship received by the water polo and field hockey governing bodies and an anticipated proposal to add boys volleyball to the MHSAA Tournament lineup.
Several more conversations regarded MHSAA postseasons:
- The Council reviewed the work of the Football Task Force and considered a staff recommendation to have the Football Committee in January discuss possibly capping enrollment of Division 8 11-player schools at 250 students to incentivize schools within that group to play 11-player instead of switching to 8-player.
- MHSAA staff have identified four areas requiring financial increases – MHSAA Tournament officials fees, host schools compensations, manager honorariums and team reimbursements for Finals participants – and the Council discussed the importance of including these when the MHSAA Audit & Finance Committee meets in February to begin the 2024-25 budgetary process.
- The Council also discussed recommendations from the MHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee addressing possible requirements of emergency action plans and AEDs at MHSAA Tournament sites.
The Fall Meeting saw the appointment of Wyoming Godfrey-Lee Schools superintendent Arnetta Thompson and Freeland Middle School principal Jennifer Thunberg to two-year terms to the 19-person Council, the first terms for both. The Council also reelected Scott Grimes, superintendent for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, as its president; Brighton High School athletic director John Thompson as its vice president, and Vic Michaels, director of physical education and athletics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as secretary-treasurer.
The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members 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 1.4 million spectators each year.