As reported in an earlier blog (Oct. 30, 2009), one of the topics the MHSAA Representative Council asked to be discussed this school year is the minimum frequency that should be required of member schools for checking student-athletes’ academic progress.
We learned during MHSAA Athletic Director In-Service programs across the state from August through October that 51.4 percent of attendees represented schools at which academic checks were performed weekly.
Currently, the minimum requirement is to check every seven weeks in trimester systems or every 10 weeks in semester systems. Among popular ideas for changing the minimum standard, if any change is made at all, is to require checks at least every three weeks or six weeks in both trimester and semester systems.
Of the attendees at this fall’s Athletic Director In-Service meetings, 67.6 percent reported their schools check student-athlete eligibility at least every three weeks and 85.4 percent check at least every six weeks; which means if either change is made in the statewide minimum standard, it would not affect the operating procedures of most MHSAA member schools. However, 41.9 percent of 714 respondents favor no change from the current minimum standard.
At its Dec. 4 meeting, the Representative Council discussed rationale for increasing the frequency of academic checks – for example, it corresponds to the higher standards and greater accountability initiatives in Michigan education. But the Council also discussed practical concerns – not the least of which is that placing greater administrative demands on schools at a time when their human resources are being reduced may be a case of a good idea at a bad time.
Input will continue to be gathered until the Representative Council’s next review of the topic in March.