MHSAA wants to increase involvement in middle school sports

October 8, 2014 / Coaching
The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) wants to become more involved in junior high and middle school sports to “create more opportunities” for young athletes.

The announcement came from the association’s executive director, Jack Roberts, who said the organization must do a better job supporting education-based athletics outside of high schools. 


“I was not always a proponent of changing to add more for junior high student-athletes,” Roberts said Wednesday at an MHSAA update meeting in Frankenmuth. “But other non-school programs have gotten a bye as far as popularity because we’re not a viable option.

“As someone who believes in the value of educational athletics and the benefits of school-focused and school-provided athletics, I believe we have to be more involved in junior highs and middle schools.”

The MHSAA had 751 member high schools during the 2013-14 school year, but only 725 junior high and middle schools. There is no fee to belong to the MHSAA.

“Almost all of the high schools belong to the MHSAA, but that 725 number is less than half of the junior highs,” Roberts said. “If we want to reach the young athletes and their moms and dads, we have to create opportunities that they want.

“Right now, the club sports and non-school organizations are very popular because they are getting a bye. We are not providing an alternative. We need to provide a better product.” 

The club sports paradigm is one that’s bothered prep coaches and administrators for years. Part of the argument is it promotes specialization while emphasizing individual over team, specifically in instances where club coaches are trying to raise a player’s recruiting profile.

This initiative isn’t all that surprising. I’m curious how many state athletic associations already have a hand in junior high sports, and whether those that don’t would consider a similar route.

Do you think this is a good move by the MHSAA? Leave your comments below or email us at [email protected].

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