EAST LANSING – The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Student Advisory Council will host its 10th “Battle of the Fans” contest this winter to award the top high school student cheering section in Michigan, with three rounds of competition that will recognize nine semifinalists, three finalists and eventually the 2021-22 champion.
The annual Battle of the Fans was put on hold for the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19, but crowds have returned to most venues, with county health departments and individual school districts making local decisions on potential spectator limits. The most recent champion was Buchanan in 2020; Buchanan has won three BOTF championships, Frankenmuth has won two, and North Muskegon, Traverse City West, Dowagiac and Beaverton also have won over the first nine years.
Schools are invited to submit a short video, via Tik Tok, of their cheering sections in action at a school sporting event. Video submissions should be up to three minutes long and explain how that section meets the following contest criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership and fun.
The deadline for student-submitted video applications is noon Jan. 8. Nine semifinalists then will be chosen – three each from Class A, Class B and Class C/D – to partake in a two-week challenge where each will be required to complete five tasks further showing why it should be chosen as Michigan’s best student section. From those nine, three finalists then will be selected by the Student Advisory Council and visited on a home game night by MHSAA staff and Advisory Council representatives. The MHSAA will produce a video of that finalist after each visit, with the champion being selected by the Student Advisory Council based in part on support each section receives on the MHSAA’s social media sites.
This year’s Battle of the Fans X winner will be announced Feb. 18 and recognized March 25 at the Breslin Center.
“After a year of limited fans in the stands, students have been itching to support their local teams,” said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. “Even though we are not yet past this pandemic, we know student sections are safely organizing to support their classmates and be part of something that for many is among the most memorable parts of the high school experience. It was great to see students in the stands together this fall, and we are excited to see the enthusiasm in gyms this winter.
“We are even more excited to bring this competition to Tik Tok. Students spend a lot of time making videos on that platform, and we are eager to see what they come up with for Battle of the Fans.”
Rules, directions for submitting videos, plus links to coverage of finalists from the first nine years of the contest can be found on the MHSAA Website at www.mhsaa.com/BOTF. This year’s finalist videos, plus the announcement of the 2021-22 winner, will be published on the MHSAA Second Half site at SecondHalf.MHSAA.com.
The Student Advisory Council is made up of eight seniors and eight juniors who each serve two-year terms. The Council acts as the voice of Michigan’s student-athletes; it serves as a student sounding board for the MHSAA’s Representative Council, assists in planning Sportsmanship Summits, Captains Clinics and other student leadership events; participates in a yearly focus group about the state of high school sports for Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and assists with medal ceremonies at MHSAA championship events.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,400 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.