The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site -



Opinion No. 5348

August 8, 1978


Interscholastic athletics

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, a private nonprofit corporation, may establish and collect fees for broadcasting state high school tournament games sponsored by the Association.

Honorable Ernest W. Nash

State Representative

The Capitol

Lansing, Michigan

You have requested my opinion on a question that may be stated as follows:

May the Michigan High School Athletic Association establish and collect fees for broadcasting state high school tournament games sponsored by the Association?

OAG, 1977-1978, No 4795 (August 11, 1977), noted that the Michigan High School Athletic Association, Inc., hereinafter referred to as MHSAA, is a private nonprofit corporation and not an agency or instrumentality of the state. It was noted in that opinion, however, that MHSAA sponsors state-wide interscholastic athletic tournaments and that boards of education may permit their schools to participate in these tournaments. As a private nonprofit corporation, MHSAA has the same rights as any other private nonprofit corporation and may engage in any conduct or activity not prohibited by law or beyond the purpose as stated in its articles of incorporation.

The articles of incorporation of MHSAA filed with the Department of Commerce state the purpose of the corporation as:

'To create, establish and provide for, supervise and conduct interscholastic athletic programs throughout the state consistent with educational values of the high school curriculums, the interest in the physical welfare and fitness of the students participating therein by giving the opportunity to participate in athletics designed to meet the needs and abilities of all and to make and adopt such rules and regulations and interpretation thereof to carry out the foregoing and to further provide for the training and registering of officials and to publish and distribute such information consistent therewith and to do any and all acts and services necessary to carry out the intent hereof.'

Thus, sponsorship of high school tournament games is within the Association's stated corporate purpose. The broadcast of such games and the establishment and collection of fees for the right to broadcast is incidental to the sponsorship of the games. It should be noted, however, that participation in the Association's program by a school district is not required.

A review of the statutory provisions of the General Corporation Act, 1931 PA 327, MCLA 415.1 et seq; MSA 21.1 et seq, relating to nonprofit corporations does not reveal any statutory prohibition. In fact, 1931 PA 327, supra, Sec. 126 specifically authorizes a nonprofit corporation, whose objects require transaction of business, receipt and payment of money and other incidental business matters, to transact such business as is naturally or properly within the scope of its articles. Recognizing that the stated corporate objects of the Association necessarily require it to incur certain expenses, nothing in the statute prevents the corporation from generating sufficient income to meet those expenses.

In 2 OAG, 1957-1958, No 3175, p 70 (March 5, 1958), it was held that the MHSAA, then a voluntary unincorporated association, was entitled to establish and collect fees for the broadcast of high school tournament games conducted by the Association. The fact that the MHSAA has incorporated as a private nonprofit corporation does not change its right to charge such fees.

In my opinion, nothing legally prohibits the MHSAA from establishing and collecting fees for the right to broadcast high school athletic tournament games sponsored by the Association.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General