Rep Council Wrap-Up: Winter 2016

March 31, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

An increased effort to ensure student-athletes and their parents or guardians receive concussion education information was among topics that generated the most attention from the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its annual Winter Meeting on March 24 in East Lansing.

Most of the Council’s discussion pointed toward possible actions at its Spring Meeting in May, with possible additions to the MHSAA Physical Exam/Clearance/Consent forms among those that may be voted upon when the Council reconvenes. The Council did take a first step, approving a requirement at its Winter Meeting mandating all students and their parent/guardian to sign a post-concussion consent form signifying they have received information on potential risks prior to returning to activity following a concussion.

Continuing its emphasis on the importance of collecting in-depth student-athlete health histories, the Council approved PRIVIT on a two-year trial basis as an electronic-based health history record-keeping tool to serve as an alternative to written communications and forms that accompany pre-participation physical examination of athletes.

The Council also discussed for possible action in May standardizing MHSAA rules/risk management meeting content for assistant and subvarsity coaches and increasing the frequency of in-depth concussion information within those meetings while still giving adequate attention to a variety of other important health and safety topics, including heat illness, sudden cardiac arrest and overuse injuries.

In other ongoing business, the Council reviewed necessary modifications to the MHSAA Membership Resolution and Handbook in advance of a change to the MHSAA Constitution that will permit schools to join the MHSAA at the 6th-grade level beginning in 2016-17. The amendment will allow schools which join the MHSAA at the 6th-grade level to let 6th-graders participate with MHSAA services and support and with and against 7th- and 8th-graders without MHSAA Executive Committee approval. It allows all districts, but requires no districts, to provide athletic opportunities for 6th-graders under the auspices of the MHSAA, either on separate teams or with 7th-and 8th-graders.

The Council considered one sport matter, in track & field, voting to begin this 2016 season to eliminate one preliminary round of the boys 110-meter hurdles, girls 100-meter hurdles and boys and girls 100 and 200-meter dashes at all Lower Peninsula Regionals that use fully automatic time (FAT) to determine race results. The Council also voted to require all Lower Peninsula Regional sites to use FAT beginning in 2017. Both actions were recommended by the MHSAA Cross Country/Track & Field Committee.

The Council also approved an Officials Review Committee recommendation to require all new officials to complete the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) online course “Interscholastic Officiating” in addition to current requirements to complete the MHSAA Officials Guidebook exam and mechanics exams for new officials seeking to work football and basketball games.

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 1,400 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.

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.