Next week all MHSAA member high schools will receive their Enrollment Declaration Forms which they will complete on Feb. 10 and return promptly to the MHSAA office. It is on the basis of this count that schools will be placed in classifications and divisions for the 2010-11 school year.
Michigan is generally credited for being the first statewide high school association in the nation to separate schools by size for interscholastic athletic tournaments. Now, every state high school association does so for at least some of their sports.
Michigan is among a minority of states that reclassifies schools for sports on an annual basis, which provides more accuracy to what is still an imperfect system: this year’s enrollments make next year’s classifications and divisions.
Girls gymnastics has a single classification, while boys and girls basketball and girls volleyball continue to have schools placed in four classes. Every other MHSAA tournament utilizes some form of the “equal divisions” concept; that is, placing approximately the same number of schools that actually sponsor the sport in each of two, three or four divisions.
Because of the physical nature of soccer, that sport places the smallest 20 percent of member schools in Division 4 and spreads the remaining schools equally across Divisions 1, 2 and 3.
In football, the 256 qualifying schools on Selection Sunday are divided into eight divisions, with the largest 32 schools in Division 1 and the smallest 32 schools in Division 8.
That basketball and volleyball are treated one way, soccer another, and other sports in other ways is a result of the preferences expressed by the majority of those schools sponsoring those sports.
The classifications and divisions for 2010-11 will be released to MHSAA.com on approximately April 1.