MHSAA 2023-24 School Year Classifications Announced 

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 6, 2023

Classifications for Michigan High School Athletic Association elections and postseason tournaments for the 2023-24 school year have been announced, with enrollment breaks for postseason tournaments posted to each sport’s page on the MHSAA Website.

Classifications for the upcoming school year are based on a second semester count date, which for MHSAA purposes was Feb. 8. The enrollment figure submitted for athletic classification purposes may be different from the count submitted for school aid purposes, as it does not include students ineligible for athletic competition because they reached their 19th birthday prior to Sept. 1 of the current school year and will not include alternative education students if none are allowed athletic eligibility by the local school district.

All sports’ tournaments are conducted with schools assigned to equal or nearly equal divisions, with lines dependent on how many schools participate in those respective sports.

For 2023-24, there are 750 tournament-qualified member schools. Schools recently were notified of their classification, and sport-by-sport divisions were posted to the MHSAA Website today (April 6). MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said schools may not subsequently lower their enrollment figure. However, if revised enrollment figures are higher and indicate that a school should be playing in a higher division, that school would be moved up.

Five MHSAA Finals champions awarded so far during the 2022-23 school year are assigned to different divisions for 2023-24. Division 6 champion Grand Rapids West Catholic will play 11-player football in Division 5 this upcoming season. The Holland Christian boys soccer team will be moving into Division 2 after winning the Division 3 Final in the fall, and East Grand Rapids’ girls swimming & diving program is headed back to Lower Peninsula Division 3 after winning in LP Division 2 this past season. A pair of cross country champions are on the move – LP Division 4 boys champion Wyoming Potter’s House Christian to LP Division 3, and Upper Peninsula Division 3 girls champion Munising into UP Division 2 – and the Grass Lake boys bowling team will compete in Division 3 next winter after winning the Division 4 championship last month.

Also set to change divisions among Finals runners-up from head-to-head sports are Cadillac volleyball (Division 2 to D1), Ann Arbor Greenhills boys soccer (Division 4 to D3), Mendon 8-player football (Division 2 to D1) and three 11-Player Finals runners-up – Caledonia (Division 1 to D2), Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (Division 2 to D3) and Muskegon (Division 3 to D2).

Visit the respective sport pages on the MHSAA Website to review the divisional alignments for all MHSAA-sponsored tournament sports. Click the “SPORTS” menu above to access the page for each sport, then the “Assignments” link on the selected sport page and then “DIVISION LIST” to see the 2023-24 division.

Traditional classes (A, B, C, D) – formerly used to establish tournament classifications – are used only for MHSAA elections. To determine traditional classifications, after all counts are submitted, tournament-qualified member schools are ranked according to enrollment and then split as closely into quarters as possible. For 2023-24, there are 187 member schools in Class A, Class B and Class C, and 189 member schools in Class D.

Effective with the 2023-24 school year, schools with 807 or more students are in Class A. The enrollment limits for Class B are 380-806, Class C is 177-379, and schools with enrollments of 176 and fewer are Class D. The break between Classes A and B decreased eight students from 2022-23, the break between Classes B and C decreased 11 students, and the break between Classes C and D is six students fewer than for the 2022-23 school year.

The new classification breaks will see 21 schools move up in Class for 2023-24 while 24 schools will move down:

Moving Up from Class B to Class A
Bay City John Glenn
Garden City
Lansing Eastern
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s

Moving Down from Class A to Class B
Detroit Henry Ford
Detroit Mumford
Harper Woods
Sault Ste. Marie
Spring Lake

Moving Up from Class C to Class B
Ann Arbor Greenhills
Grand Rapids Covenant Christian
Ishpeming Westwood
Kent City
Mason County Central

Moving Down from Class B to Class C
Clinton Township Clintondale
Detroit Northwestern
Elk Rapids
Sanford Meridian

Moving Up from Class D to Class C
Auburn Hills Oakland Christian
Benton Harbor Countryside Academy
Detroit Crocket Midtown Science & Medicine
Grand Traverse Academy
Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary

Moving Down from Class C to Class D
Eau Claire
Jackson Prep
Muskegon Heights Academy
St. Ignace

New Postseason-Eligible Tournament Schools in 2023-24
Waterford Oakside Prep

Enrollment Breaks by Classes – 2023-24
(Number of schools in parentheses)
Class A: 807 and above (187 schools) 
Class B: 380 – 806 (187)
Class C: 177 – 379 (187)
Class D: 176 and below (189) 

MHSAA High School Sports Participation Continues to Exceed Population Ranking Nationally

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 15, 2023

Michigan continued to rank 10th nationally in high school-aged population during the 2022-23 school year and continued to best that ranking in participation in high school sports, according to the annual national participation study conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Michigan ranked ninth for overall participation nationally, based on a total of 268,070 participants who competed in sports for which the MHSAA conducts postseason tournaments. The total counts students once for each sport played, meaning students who are multiple-sport athletes are counted more than once.

Michigan also ranked ninth nationally for both girls (111,569) and boys (156,501) participation separately, while ranking ninth for high-school aged boys population and 10th for girls according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Michigan’s national rankings in seven sports improved from 2021-22, while nine sports saw lower national rankings than the previous year. The biggest jumps came in girls volleyball and boys soccer, which both moved up two spots – volleyball to fourth-highest participation nationally, and boys soccer to eighth. Girls golf (fourth), softball (seventh), girls track & field (seventh), girls swimming & diving and boys swimming & diving (both eighth) also moved up on their respective national lists.

Participation in several more MHSAA sports also continued to outpace the state’s rankings for high school-aged population.

For girls, participation in bowling (fourth), tennis (fourth), cross country (sixth), basketball (seventh), competitive cheer (ninth) and soccer (ninth) all ranked higher than their population listing of 10th nationally. Among boys sports, bowling (second), ice hockey (fourth), tennis (fifth), golf (fifth), basketball (sixth), track & field (sixth), cross country (seventh), football – all formats combined (seventh) and baseball (eighth) exceeded that ninth ranking for population.

Only 11 states sponsor alpine skiing, but Michigan ranked third on both the girls and boys lists for that sport. Wrestling, with boys and girls totals counted together, ranked eighth.

Participation nationally rose more than three percent from 2021-22 to 7,857,969 participants, the first upward movement in participation data since the all-time record of 7,980,886 in 2017-18, which was followed by the first decline in 30 years in 2018-19 and the two-year halt in data collection by the NFHS related to the pandemic. (The MHSAA continued to collect and report its data during this time.) The national total includes 4,529,789 boys and 3,328,180 girls, according to figures obtained from the 51 NFHS member state associations, which include the District of Columbia.

Eleven-player football remained the most popular boys sport, and most popular participation sport overall, with the total climbing back over one million participants. The total of 1,028,761 participants marked an increase of 54,969 and 5.6 percent from the previous year. This year’s increase was the first in the sport since 2013 and only the second increase since the all-time high of 1,112,303 in 2008-09. There also was a slight gain (34,935 to 35,301) in the number of boys in 6-, 8- and 9-player football.

Next on the boys list were outdoor track & field, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, cross country, tennis, golf, and swimming & diving, respectively.

On the girls side, outdoor track and field (up 6.5 percent) and volleyball (3.6) remained in the top two spots, while basketball reclaimed the third position. Cross country ranked fourth, followed by softball, soccer, golf, tennis, swimming & diving and competitive spirit, respectively.

Texas remained atop the list of state participation with 827,446, but California closed the gap in second adding 25,000 participants to climb to 787,697. New York is third with 356,803, followed by Illinois (335,801), Ohio (323,117), Pennsylvania (316,587), Florida (297,389), New Jersey (272,159), Michigan (268,070) and Minnesota (219,094), which climbed into the top 10 past Massachusetts.

The participation survey has been compiled in its current form by the NFHS since 1971.