Helping sports organization solve integrity, growth, and development challenges

Team Administration

Q: What are good resources to use to educate athletes and parents about the grooming behaviors of pedophiles?

A:  Competent sport organization administrators understand that the most common type of pedophile encountered in youth sport programs is the “acquaintance pedophile.”   Generally, there are three types of pedophiles: “stranger”, “family” and “acquaintance” pedophiles.  Stranger pedophiles typically abduct and harm their victims, often fatally.  Family pedophiles involve child abuse by a parent or family member.  Acquaintance pedophiles are the most difficult to detect because they often occupy positions of respect (i.e., teachers, coaches, priests, etc.) and artfully groom the child over an

Q: Should athletes be required to discuss issues with their coach before filing a complaint with the athletic department?

A:  Generally, yes – with several exceptions.  The athletic administrator must directly address the athletic program culture with both coaches and athletes at the beginning of each academic year in order to better offset the tremendous imbalance of power between coaches and student-athletes.  There should be a clearly stated policy and expectation that athletes have the right to ask their coaches any question and the coach, as a teacher first and foremost, has an obligation to adequately respond to such questions.  Included in this policy statement should be the requirement that such questi

Model Policy: Supplements, Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Drugs

Athletic departments often impose strict policies regarding the use of recreational or performance enhancing drugs by student-athletes and often have extensive drug testing programs designed to detect and prevent such use.  However, many departments do not have policies in place that address the issuance of vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter drugs by coaches, trainers or other department employees.  These policies are particularly important given the fact that vitamins and other supplements are a relatively unregulated industry in the United States.  Occasionally, some supplements t

Sample Policy and Procedures: Operation of the Athletic Training Facility

Proper operation of health care facilities and programs, specifically the athletic training room operation, is the responsibility of every institution.    Policies should exist that clearly establish the overriding authority and supervision of medical doctors as well control of the involvement of other health care professionals such as athletic trainers, masseurs, chiropractors, strength and conditioning personnel, student trainers and other employees and third parties who may be involved in the care or treatment of student-athletes.  Policies related to the operation of and safety in the a

Fair Investigation and Decision-Making: External Misconduct

When implementing a sanction, the sport manager has every incentive to get the decision right the first time; the stakes are high with regard to the manager’s and the organization’s reputation for fair judgment.  The consequences for misjudging or failing to have explicit policies can be severe.  For example NFL player Ray Rice assaulted his fiancé which was captured by an elevator videotape.  The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, originally suspended the player for two games and then subsequently suspended the player indefinitely for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.   The player

External Misconduct: Specific Policy Recommendations

Our administrative responsibilities are multiple:  (1) to identify reputation and business risk, (2) to develop policies and procedures that reduce or eliminate such risk, (3) to educate all employees on how to avoid such risks and the penalties that may be incurred if policies and procedures are violated, (4) to fairly evaluate when employees have violated policies and procedures (using the preponderance of evidence standard), and (5) to impose appropriate penalties for such violations.  It is important for such policies to be specific with regard to the delineation of both prohibited and

Administrative Authority and Perspective: External Misconduct of Employees

We now reside in a world in which public access to video and photos of misconduct is unprecedented whether by employees, athletes or the police.  Social media and ever-expanding electronic communication capabilities permit widespread dissemination of these materials within minutes.    From elevator cameras to smart phone video, from computer hacking to sharing intimate photos, citizen conduct has never been more exposed.  This environment has created incredible pressure on administrators, especially those involved in high public interest activities such as collegiate and professional sports

Q: Why and how should student-athletes be involved in governance?

Why?  The athletics program exists for its educational impact on the growth and development of student-athletes.  Yet, in many athletics programs, the pressure on coaches to win or, at the high school level, to demonstrate that their athletes receive college athletics scholarships, creates incentives for these goals to take precedence over the educator’s “duty of care” responsibilities.  Thus, the athletics director must keep in touch with student-athlete issues and challenges.  A formally constructed and regularly meeting Student-Athlete Advisory Council should be the cornerstone of the at

Social Media and the Issue of Respect

There is a tendency for athletics departments to place stringent restrictions on the use of social media by student-athletes.  On one hand, social media use should not be used to violate athletics department or institutional policies on such standard subjects as sexual harassment, bullying, respectful conduct,  or conformance with NCAA or governance association rules.  On the other hand, every student-athlete and staff member has a right to free speech.  Thus, the athletics department should consider utilizing educational efforts as its primary mechanism to encourage responsible use of soci

Sample Student-Athlete Participation Agreement

STUDENT-ATHLETE NAME____________________________________SPORT______________________

I understand that a fulfilling educational sport experience requires the exercise of responsibilities on the part of both personnel associated with the athletics program and student-athletes.  As a student-athlete, I understand my responsibility to commit to the principles of self-discipline, collaborative effort and team building, and to be an ambassador for the institution.

Academic Standards