By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Two first-time locations and sessions conducted by local game officials are among additions to the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s annual Sportsmanship Summit series, which will run again during the first three weeks of November.
The MHSAA has conducted Sportsmanship Summits across Michigan for more than 20 years and will visit four sites this fall including Traverse City and Ann Arbor each for the first time. The Summit series kicks off Nov. 7 at Saginaw Valley State University and finishes Nov. 16 in Grand Rapids.
MHSAA staff, with assistance from school administrators and the MHSAA Student Advisory Council, conduct Sportsmanship Summits. More than 1,000 students from more than 100 schools are expected to take part in the four workshops, where they will discuss the line that separates good from bad sportsmanship, especially when it comes to cheering at athletic events. Instruction will be based in part on insights gained during the Student Advisory Council’s Battle of the Fans competitions, which annually began recognizing the best student cheering section in Michigan during the 2011-12 winter season.
This fall’s Summits also again will feature hands-on breakout sessions. New this fall, students will have the opportunity to meet with and discuss sportsmanship with local game officials, who will explain sportsmanship from their points of view and how it may differ from what students experience as competitors or fans. Members of the Student Advisory Council have developed and will instruct during another breakout session and also play a role in the opening all-Summit presentation. To conclude the Summits, the delegation from each participating school will meet to develop a youth sportsmanship campaign to implement upon returning to school.
Sessions will take place at the following:
• Saginaw – Nov. 7 – Saginaw Valley State University Conference Center – 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
• Traverse City – Nov. 9 – Grand Traverse Resort – 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
• Ann Arbor – Nov. 14 – Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel – 9 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
• Grand Rapids – Nov. 16 – Crowne Plaza Airport – 9 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
Registration at each site is limited to the first 300 students and administrators. Schools are welcome to bring as many as 10 total representatives, including two administrators. For additional registration information, contact Andy Frushour at the MHSAA office – [email protected] or (517) 332-5046. Click for details.
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.