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December 1st is a Big Deal

One of the two or three most important Michigan High School Athletic Association Representative Council meetings of the past three decades will occur Dec. 1. Here’s why this is so.

The Council must decide where MHSAA Basketball Finals will be held for girls and boys, and make related decisions regarding both regular season and tournament schedules so schools can get on with confirming game schedules and officials assignments for at least 2018-19.  

The Council must decide whether the enrollment limit for the 2018 MHSAA 8-Player Football Tournament will be fixed or floating, and if fixed, at what number. Of greater consequence in the long run, the Council will launch a discussion into the MHSAA’s responsibility for determining varsity 8-player football opponents for schools during the regular season.

The Council must consider changes in the policies and procedures for administering the new pitch count in baseball, and if the new pitching limitations should continue to delay what were thought to be improvements in the MHSAA Baseball Tournament structure and schedule.

The Council will examine input regarding proposals to fundamentally change the MHSAA transfer rule and determine which components of the proposal should advance as action items for its meetings in March or May.

The Council will examine input on proposed changes at the junior high/middle school level for contest limitations for several sports, as well as liberalization of the limited team membership rule for all team sports except football. Of even greater consequence, the Council may determine how aggressively, if at all, to advance MHSAA-sponsored regional invitational events for the junior high/middle school level in selected individual and team sports, with action on such possibly occurring in March or May.

The Council will engage in a discussion of what may be fading and what may be emerging in youth and school sports over the next decade and what that may mean in terms of sports for which MHSAA services and support should be provided, including what MHSAA tournaments may be added and which dropped at the high school level.

The Council will examine input on seeding of MHSAA District Basketball Tournaments and determine what the scope of actions could be at its March or May meetings.

Typically, the December meeting of the Representative Council tees up a big topic or two for action in March or May. This year, the December meeting requires that some specific actions be taken and sets more than the usual number of big topics on a course for action before this school year ends.

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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 44 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for seven years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is vice chair and secretary of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.