In the blog of Sept. 25, 2009, we suggested that caution should be used before blaming the two-year drop in high school participation rates on the court-ordered change of seasons. Now we confront the additional concern that the change of seasons is hurting athletic scholarship opportunities of Michigan’s female athletes.
During the protracted litigation that reversed girls basketball and volleyball seasons, plaintiffs argued that the setup by Michigan schools was harmful to females obtaining college athletic scholarships in those sports. Plaintiffs provided no statistical evidence of this harm; and the court refused to allow contrary data to be entered into evidence.
On behalf of its member schools, the MHSAA attempted to present information from 1999 to 2002 posted by FansOnly.com and from 1999 to 2003 posted on RichKern.com to show that Michigan ranked sixth nationally in both basketball and volleyball scholarships for female athletes.
In the two years since the seasons change, RichKern.com numbers have dropped Michigan from sixth to ninth nationally in volleyball recruits; and Scout's Inc. numbers have Michigan 12th in basketball letter of intent signees over the past two years.
Maximizing participation in school sports is far more important than maximizing college scholarship opportunities; but these statistics are disappointing. We’re trying to improve Michigan student-athletes’ understanding of what it takes to be a college student and athlete and help more to be ready for the experience through the MHSAA/BCAM “Reaching Higher” initiative in basketball, which should ultimately be extended to several other sports in 2010-11.
The fastest route to more information is to click on “College Prep” under “Students” at the bottom of the home page of MHSAA.com.