Increasing numbers of schools are having increasing difficulties completing varsity football schedules, citing the unwillingness of schools with similar enrollments within reasonable travel distances to agree to games when they fear losing those games and jeopardizing chances to qualify for the MHSAA Football Playoffs.
At the same time, increasing numbers of administrators of these and other schools are expressing increasing concerns for under-funding of both public and private education, and they are searching for ways to reduce travel costs for extracurricular events.
Some observers suggest that once again doubling the number of teams qualifying for the Football Playoffs would alleviate scheduling problems. In fact, each previous expansion over the long history of the playoffs has had the opposite effect, resulting in more schools with scheduling problems. While expansion of the playoffs might ease scheduling difficulties in some cases, there is greater likelihood that another expansion of the playoffs would not only be unhealthy for many players, but also would lead to more rather than less travel and expense for many schools.
A more certain approach to addressing regular-season scheduling problems and travel costs would be for the MHSAA to take a path never taken by it before to implement a statewide two-year home and away schedule for all schools which sponsor varsity football.
Proceeding in this direction would face significant league and local obstacles and require not just a scheduling plan, but also a clear mandate from member schools following a series of meetings and mailings to gather input and discuss the plan.
Providing this varsity football scheduling service to schools would be a huge headache and a thankless task for the MHSAA. But it’s not the small problems for which a state high school association is needed. It’s for the big problems. And from listening to administrators in many corners of this state, there is no problem any bigger for which the MHSAA might have the authority and ability to help.