Intersholastic Athletic Concerns
Problems with secondary school athletics. As an athletic director or coach, expect to hear some of these concerns. What is your response? Think it out ahead of time. Are some of these legitimate?
- Educational funding should not be allocated for athletics.
- Unhealthy: Due to injuries especially in contact sports.
- Inequities in funding sports favoring males.
- Imbalance in money spent on football instead of lifetime sports.
- Negative coaching techniques: Not playing everyone, abusive verbal attacks, etc.
- Interference with academics
- Problems hiring teachers who are more qualified to coach.
- High cost (Horine, 2004)
- Physical fitness
- Social Development
- 3.Sport skill and knowledge attainment
- 4.Individual development: self-esteem, self-control, self-discipline.
- 5.Increase interest in academic activities.
- 6.Promotes community and parent involvement. (Horine, 2004)
Codes of conduct: Policies and expectations for conduct for a team or an entire athletic program, and in some cases school-wide policies that apply to athletics. Generalizations about codes of conduct: Rulings on court cases
- Athletics is a privilege not a right
- Rules must be reasonable and relate directly to sport. (Horine, 2004)
It is the athletic director’s and coaches' responsibility to discipline prudently and consistently.
Recommendations for success as an athletic director:
- In high school and college, the single most important key to the success of your program is hiring good coaches. Spend your money on coaching salaries first. Part-time coaches are transient and often unqualified.
- Good time management skills and establishing priorities are vital.
- Design and present quality proposals: know your audience, aim high (within reason), exude confidence, do your homework, address the bottom line ($).
- Make sure you have the resources (operating budget, salaries, facilities, etc.) to be successful before you accept the job.
- Place yourself in a league where you can be successful: Most teams should be able to win at least half of their games any given year. With this scenario, a good season will result in a high finish in the league and a poor season will usually avoid a dismal winning percentage.
- Communicate often with coaches and superiors.
Hiring a coach: Is experience necessary? Certification required in state? What is more important to hire, a good PE teacher or good coach? Payment of coaches: Release time? Contract?
Major problem is that coaches have 2 full-time jobs. Kneer (1987) suggests strategies:
- Continue to combine teaching and coaching but include coaching in part of teaching load.
- Continue to combine teaching and coaching but reduce practice time and length.
- Separate teaching and coaching occupations within the school and employ full-time coaches.
- Separate teaching and coaching as occupation and remove athletics from the school. (Horine, 2004)
Eligibility: Different from the regular student requirements? Or NCAA/NAIA? Select a good compliance officer.
Practices: Scheduling. What has priority (PE, athletics)?
Awards and scholarships for athletics: How are they distributed? What criteria is used.
Athletic Trainer: Make sure anyone working on an athlete is a qualified athletic trainer (NATA) or under direct supervision of a qualified athletic trainer.
Athletic Council: Many schools form an athletic council made up of students, athletic department personnel, general faculty, school administrators, and/or alumni. The council may have power to set policy or may only serve as an advisory council to the principal or athletic director. The council may serve various roles including:
- Recommendations and approval of budget.
- Handbook or code of conduct development.
- Discipline of athletes or coaches.
- Personnel decisions.
- Setting and enforcing policy.
- Time of travel
- Skill of opponents
- Future relations with school
- Times available to play
- Religious considerations
- Spectators: How would you educate the fans?
- History: Rivalry
- Contracts and postponements in scheduling
- Chair crew
- Custodial and cleanup
- Table: Score clocks, books
- Books and statistics
- Team manager
- Facilities for other team
- Crowd control: How would you avert potential crowd problems? Potential problems: fans falling off stands. Scheduling boring contests.
- Communication: PA and media
- Emergency crisis plan