Half of MHSAA member high schools continued to assess sports participation fees during the 2018-19 school year, according to a survey that has measured the prevalence of charging students to help fund interscholastic athletics annually over the last 15 years.
Of the 604 schools which responded to the 2018-19 survey, exactly half – 302 – assessed a participation fee, while 302 did not during the past school year. This year’s survey results are in line with those of the last two schools years, which saw 49.7 percent of schools charging participation fees for 2016-17 and 49 percent in 2017-18. For the purposes of the survey, a participation fee was anything $20 or more regardless of what the school called the charge (registration fee, insurance fee, transportation fee, etc.).
The MHSAA conducted its first participation fee survey during the 2003-04 school year, when 24 percent of responding schools reported they charged fees. The percentage of member schools charging fees crossed 50 percent in 2010-11 and reached a high of 56.6 percent in 2013-14 before falling back below 50 percent in 2016-17.
A record number of member high schools responded to the survey for the second straight year – 81 percent of the MHSAA’s 750 member schools provided data for 2018-19. Class A schools again remained the largest group charging fees, with 69 percent of respondents doing so. Class B and Class C schools followed, both with 48 percent charging fees, and Class D schools also remained in line with the previous year with 35 percent charging for participation.
Charging a standardized fee for each team on which a student-athlete participates – regardless of the number of teams – remains the most popular method among schools assessing fees, with that rate at 45 percent of schools. Schools charging a one-time standardized fee per student-athlete remained constant at 28 percent. A slight uptick was seen in the percentage of schools assessing fees based on tiers of the number of sports a student-athlete plays (for example, charging a larger fee for the first team and less for additional sports), with 20 percent of responding schools charging in this way compared to 15 percent a year ago.
The amounts of most fees remained consistent or similar as well during 2018-19. The median annual maximum fee per student of $150 and the median annual maximum family fee of $300 both remained constant for at least the fifth straight year, while the median fee assessed by schools that charge student-athletes once per year held steady at $125 for the third straight school year. The median per-team fee increased slightly, $5, to $80 for 2018-19.
The survey for 2018-19 and surveys from previous years can be found on the MHSAA Website.
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.
Elections were completed recently to fill positions on the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s legislative body, its Representative Council, with six members receiving re-election from their respective constituencies.
Five of the six re-elected members ran unopposed. Gobles athletic director Chris Miller was re-elected to continue representing Class C and D schools in the southwestern section of the Lower Peninsula, Camden-Frontier superintendent Chris Adams was re-elected to continue representing Class C and D schools in the southeastern section of the Lower Peninsula, and Marquette athletic director Alex Tiseo was re-elected to continue representing Class A and B schools in the Upper Peninsula.
Boyne City High School principal Adam Stefanski also ran unopposed and was re-elected to continue representing junior high/middle schools. Jay Alexander, executive director of athletics for Detroit Public Schools Community District, was re-elected to continue representing Detroit Public Schools. Mt. Morris athletic director Jeff Kline was re-elected from a pool of three candidates to continue in a statewide at-large position.
The Representative Council is the 19-member 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 Council meets three times annually. Five members of the Council convene monthly during the school year to form the MHSAA’s Executive Committee, which reviews appeals of Handbook regulations by member schools.
Additional elections took place to select representatives to the Upper Peninsula Athletic Committee. Negaunee athletic director Paul Jacobson was elected to represent Class A and B schools, and Menominee athletic director Sam Larson was elected to represent Class C schools. Paradise Whitefish Township superintendent/principal/athletic director Vincent Gross was elected to represent Class D schools.
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.