In the computer world we’ve become accustomed to the “default setting,” a place our computer returns without any intervention on our part.
It is not too long a leap to apply this metaphor to school-based sports. To suggest that with major college and professional sports programs crashing with scandals and strikes, the safe setting in the world of sports is interscholastic athletics.
With the absence of gaudy glitz and glamour, school-based sports has reduced possibilities for “operator error.” It is almost as if school sports is fresh out of the box, pre-installed with policies and procedures that allow coaches and administrators to operate with a minimum of moves, motivations and messages.
I said during MHSAA Update Meetings last fall that our current theme is “cheap and simple” – that is, doing what we can to keep costs down and procedures simple during these days when school personnel have reduced resources, including time, to devote to school sports. Increasingly, I see the challenge as providing the MHSAA membership fresh from the box services. For example . . .
- This was the primary motivation for the MHSAA moving to online rules meetings for coaches and officials that has saved them countless hours and miles to fulfill their meeting requirements in recent years.
- This has been the primary motivation behind the digital broadcasting program by which member schools have a safe, reliable place for streaming school productions of both athletic and non-athletic events.
- This is the primary motivation for the ArbiterGame electronic management tools being developed for member high school athletic departments fully integrated with MHSAA policies, systems and data.
In a world of increasing costs and complexities, ours is a difficult challenge to keep things cheap and simple in school sports; but we’ll be trying.