Those who make rules ought to have knowledge of the limitations of rules, lest they overreach and over-regulate.

Dov Seidman writes in how:  Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything:  “Rules fail because you cannot write a rule to contain every possible behavior in the vast spectrum of human conduct. There will always be gray areas, and therefore, given the right circumstances, opportunities, or outside pressures, some people might be motivated to circumvent them. When they do, our typical response is just to make more rules. Rules, then, become part of the problem.”

The NCAA is under constant criticism for its voluminous rule book which seems to pry into myriad of daily activities of athletes, coaches, boosters and others with so many rules it’s impossible for people to know them all. So university athletic departments must hire compliance officers to guide people – effectively absolving the people in the trenches from knowing the rules and committing to their adherence; and the NCAA office must hire investigations to sort through all the allegations of wrongdoing.

While much trimmer than the NCAA Manual, the MHSAA Handbook is much larger today than its original versions. Still, every year in December when the MHSAA staff conducts a series of meetings that kicks off a six-month process of reviewing the Handbook, there is a concerted effort to “make the rules better without making the rule book larger.”

We know that unless the rules address a specific problem and are written with clarity and enforced with certainty, rules do more harm than they do good. “This,” according to Seidman, “creates a downward spiral of rulemaking which causes lasting detriment to the trust we need to sustain society. With each successive failure of rules, our faith in the very ability of rules to govern human conduct decreases. Rules, the principal arm of the way we govern ourselves, lose their power, destroying our trust in both those who make them and the institutions they govern.”


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From the Director

From the Director is the official MHSAA Blog which will touch on pertinent school sports topics periodically throughout the school year from various MHSAA Staff.