MHSAA ready to launch sitePublished 7:51am Wednesday, July 29, 2009
EAST LANSING – The beginning of a new school year will bring a new look, new features and improved functionality to the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s website – mhsaa.com – which will relaunch with a new design on Monday (August 3).
Over two years in development, using input from schools, officials, media and the Have Your Say Survey conducted in the fall of 2007, the redesigned site will offer a variety of new ways for all parties to obtain information and services from the Association; with the one feature most requested – schedules and scores – at the forefront.
Beginning with the launch of the revamped site, MHSAA member schools can input their varsity competition schedules and team scores in all sports. Future plans include giving schools a platform for inputting schedules and scores at the subvarsity level as well, and for providing additional statistical details from an event.
For the past few years, the MHSAA Website has become a go-to place on Friday nights during the football season for scores, with over 80 percent of games being reported by 11 o’clock. The popularity of the schedules and scores feature in football bodes well for expansion into other sports.
“Our website statistics show that of over 20 million page views in a school year, approximately 11 million of those views are for football schedules and scores. When we talk to schools, officials, the media, fans and student-athletes, they all tell us the MHSAA Website should be the location that centralizes that information in all sports,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the Association. “With the relaunch of our website, the cooperation of schools, and the phenomenon of crowdscourcing, we think what has taken place in football will improve and be replicated in all sports.”
Schools have been responsible for the input of information in the past for football, and will be the primary force in other sports, but the crowdsourcing element will provide a big boost in pushing the results-gathering process.
“We expect that schools will take the leadership in making the MHSAA Website the first place that people go for schedules and scores, either through an athletic administrator providing the information, or by delegating that task to a coach or responsible individual associated with the team that will keep the information current,” said Roberts. “Then through crowdsourcing, followers of a team or sport will be able to help fill the gaps to everyone’s benefit.”
Individuals will be able to become a registered user at MHSAA.com, enabling them to be able to provide scores. “It would not be unusual for several registered users sitting the in stands at their local games to use their handheld device to provide us with the final score at a game’s conclusion,” Roberts said. “The ‘crowd’ provides the information and polices itself to make sure that the information submitted is accurate.”
The revamped site will also include new content, such as a regular blog from Roberts; will feature ways for visitors to support their favorite school through e-commerce solutions; be integrated with the MHSAA Network websites to audio and video broadcasts of regular-season and post-season tournaments; and utilize connections to social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
“Our students are better connected in some ways than ever before,” says Roberts. “We believe that using some of the social networking elements of the Internet will promote positive interaction between young people well after our student leadership events are over; and it’s those personal connections that get converted on game day into great sportsmanship.”
From an administrative standpoint, school personnel and registered game officials will find improved navigation to existing tools to help them better communicate with the MHSAA; tools which will expand in the future to assist them in their day to day operations of their work with educational athletic programs.