Visit the NSIAAA Newsletter Launch Page  

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times
Bruce Parish, CMAA
NSIAAA President
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Charles Dickens began his epic novel A Tale of Two Cities with these words to depict a changing time in history. The 2010-2011 school year has begun and the nation, state and even the NSIAAA are experiencing dynamic historical changes. These changes will affect our political, social and professional lives for years to come. This gives one literary license to change Dickens to "This is the best of times, this is the worst of times."

The political and economic indicators are pointing to changes in the fabric of America. The national, state and local arenas are all going to be affected. The November elections will probably shake up Washington more than any other election in a long while. Governor Heineman and Mr. Breed have sounded the alarm that state aid will be drastically cut. The NSAA now has a board of directors and a search is on for an executive director, while at the same time District I and District II will add additional members to the board. The NSIAAA is moving the state convention to Kearney from Grand Island.

The question is how you as an administrator view the above, as the best or the worst. A positive attitude in your leadership duties is going to be essential to ensure that we are doing what is best for our students. We have very little control over what is happening, so we must as administrators lead in a positive way. We have a choice as we enter a dark room—are we just going to walk in or are we going to turn on the light? Choose darkness and it will be the worst of times; turn on the light and make it the best of times.

The best of times was in mind when the NSIAAA board made the decision to move the state convention to Kearney. The venue is perfect for our needs, as we anticipate the growth that Grand Island could not handle. I hope to see everyone come to Kearney and enjoy the best of times.

See you there!

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus Among Keynotes at Kearney
Five keynote sessions will anchor the program for the NSIAAA Fall Conference, November 6-8, in Kearney. The annual exchange of ideas and education programs will be held this year at the Kearney Holiday Inn.

Events kick off on Saturday with the NSIAAA Golf Tournament (weather permitting), Leadership Training Courses and an evening of hospitality.

Leadership Training Courses continue Sunday morning prior to the opening of the exhibit hall and the general conference sessions.

The opening general session on Sunday will hear the inspiring story of Nebraska Para Olympian Allison Aldrich. Aldrich, born in David City and an athlete at Schuyler High School, was a member of the bronze-medal-winning women’s sitting volleyball team at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, Greece.

The second general session on Sunday will take a look at “Contest Management” and the wide array of risks that a public event can entail and how they can be minimized with a little planning. Jay Hammes of Safe Sports Zone will make this presentation.

Dick Butkus, considered by many to be the greatest linebacker of his generation if not all time, an NFL Hall of Famer with the Chicago Bears, actor, and national advocate for healthy youth activities, will be an afternoon speaker on Sunday. Butkus will address the group on “Football, steroids and the effect it has had on him.”

Monday’s first general session will take a look at “Legal Considerations for Athletic Directors” with attorney Karen Hasse. The final general session will be presented by Tom Doyle, a Washington state high school athletic director. Tom’s True Colors presentation on “Effective Communications” will address the key element in most conflicts ADs face—with the public, their coaches, their athletes and the athletes' parents.

As always, the weekend will be filled with ideas, motivation and door prizes. Check out the links on page 9 of this newsletter for additional information, registration forms and printable copies of the program.

The early room reservations deadline has passed, but rooms may still be available by contacting the Kearney Holiday Inn. You may also call 308-237-5971. When making your reservation be sure to mention you are with the NSIAAA Fall Conference and ask to see if the early registration rate of $72.95 per night may still be available.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
Welcome New Athletic Directors!
Mike Purdy, CAA
NSIAAA Executive Director
The NSIAAA would like to welcome new athletic directors to the field of athletic administration.

We encourage all of you to become members of the NIAAA and NSIAAA. Membership information should be mailed to you by our district representatives, and if you have not received any information, please contact me at

The NIAAA and NSIAAA promote professional growth and exchange of ideas between athletic directors. From the NIAAA you receive a quarterly professional journal written by and for athletic administrators, the NFHS News, a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy while performing duties of an athletic administrator and a $2,500 term life insurance policy. The NSIAAA provides three newsletters, a fall and spring conference, admission to college athletic events and opportunities for professional development through our Leadership Training Program that prepares you to become a Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA). In addition, first-time NSIAAA member fall conference attendance registration fee is complimentary.

2010-11 New Athletic Directors
Ainsworth: Scott Steinhauser/Jeff Konkoleski
Brady: T.J. Nielsen
Bridgeport: Mark Steer
Chase County: Marc Mroczek
Clarkson: Mark Ernst
Cross County: Ty Twarling
East Butler: Dave Struebing
Elba: Dan Carlson
Elkhorn: Mike Zeplin
Elwood: Kurt Banzhaf
Fort Calhoun: Nicholas Wemhoff
Gretna: John Heckenlively
Hay Springs: Jeremy Wieseler
Hershey: Jason Calahan
Johnson-Brock: Brett Davis
Lawrence-Nelson: Brian Blevins
Leyton: Greg Brenner
Lincoln Southeast: Kathi Wieskamp
Loomis: Cole Carraher
Loup County: Jeff Bachman
Mitchell: Chad Kenworthy
Morrill: Tom Peacock
Nebraska Lutheran: Matt Willems
Niobrara: Angie Guenther
North Loup-Scotia: Richard Johnson
Omaha Brownell-Talbot: Jeff Rohrig
Omaha Burke: Kyle Rohrig
Omaha North: Andy Wane
Omaha St. Peter Claver: Gale Bly
Omaha Westside: Tom Kerkman
Osceola: Phil Doerr
Parkview Christian: Jerry Simerly/Jason Palmer
Pope John: Julie Burenheide
Ravenna: Paul Anderson
Santee: Roger F. Doud
Sutton: Steve Ramer
Thedford: Scott Leisy
Wallace: Kory Rohde
Wauneta-Palisade: Troy Holmberg
Waverly: Mitch Stine
Wood River: Dave Bahe
Yutan: Dustin Nielsen

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
2010 Sportsmanship Summit
The 2010 Sportsmanship Summit will be held in two sessions. Gering will host a western conference November 16, and Concordia College in Seward will host an eastern conference November 17.

The summit schedule has been prepared and several sessions are planned for students and adults. Registration materials will be sent out from the Nebraska Coaches Association.

The NSIAAA, NCA and NSAA are pleased with the results of past conferences, and we have seen dramatic changes in sportsmanship across the state. Please plan on bringing a team to the conference in your area. The NCA website ( will have information to preview once the schedule has been approved. See you at the summit.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
New in Nebraska
Jamboree Basketball to Benefit Hall of Fame
In May the NSAA Board of Directors approved a proposal to allow each member school to schedule one additional varsity boys and girls basketball game, the proceeds of which would be forwarded to the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation in their ongoing effort to finance the Hall of Fame.

Jamboree games must be four (eight-minute) quarters of play versus a NSAA member school, varsity only, or two (eight-minute) quarters against one member school and two (eight-minute) quarters against another member school. Results of jamboree games will not be counted into the school’s wild-card point averages.

Games may be scheduled Week #21 and Monday and Tuesday of Week #22 (November 22-27, 29-30, 2010).

All scheduled games need to be reported to Randy Bates, NHSSHOF executive director, by November 15. You may contact the Hall of Fame office by calling 402-476-4767 or by emailing Please report your scheduled games if you have not already done so.

Please check the NSAA website for full details concerning the regulations related to scheduling a jamboree game.

Please support the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame by scheduling a jamboree game. Your support will go a long way toward bringing the Hall of Fame into reality.

The board of directors of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation thanks you for your support.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
Does Your Middle School Have Its Own AD?
Two heads may be better than one
Thad A. Schumacher, RAA, and Pamela Murphy, Asst. Principal
Fremont Middle School - Fremont, NE
The opportunity for a district to operate with separate athletic directors at the middle school and high school levels is beneficial both to the personnel and the buildings. It certainly reduces the pressure and workload for the high school athletic director, as he or she is no longer responsible for the additional team schedules, coaches, officials, equipment and travel considerations, and it allows him or her to concentrate on the high school program.

The uniqueness of the middle school student and the focus on athletics makes it vital to have leaders who are accessible and visible to the coaches, athletes and parents, and who can work directly with the building administration. As a middle school athletic director, I have encountered some specific situations that truly justify this position in our district.

1. Coaches
Hiring the best coaches for each position is always a daunting task, but it becomes somewhat more complicated at the middle school level.

Middle school coaching may lack the glory and prestige of high school positions, so there are often fewer candidates for the vacancies. Teachers who are new to the profession may be reluctant to take on additional duties in their first years, and veterans, especially those who do not teach at the middle school level, may not be enticed by the prospect of working with large numbers of early adolescents.

What works at the high school in terms of coaching style may be counterproductive at the middle school level. When possible, it has worked best to have our coaches—especially head coaches—actually be part of the middle school teaching staff. They have a better understanding of the social and emotional development of these students and develop a positive rapport more quickly. It also allows the athletic director to have immediate contact to address any issues of schedules, parent concerns, eligibility and equipment needs.

Certainly there have been excellent coaches for the middle school who have been high school or elementary teachers, but there is definitely more of a “learning curve” and greater difficulties with communication and cooperation.

Our view on middle school athletics is that we are the foundation for the high school, and our student-athletes deserve the best possible coaching and learning experiences to maintain their interest and to promote their continued involvement. To be honest, there have been situations where coaches have been hired who were not committed to the middle school athlete to the extent desired, but no detectable damage was done. The good news is that these people tend not to stay with middle school programs, and more suitable replacements have been found.

2. Lack of Available Medical Staff
The high school is able to maintain a full-time trainer from the local hospital and to develop a corps of students who can assist at all athletic events. The middle school is less fortunate as we lack this access, and the trainers are always committed to the high school events rather than attending those at the middle school level. The inexperience of many of our athletes, particularly in football, puts them at greater risk of injury.

This past year, after much lobbying on my part, the hospital provided a trainer at our home football games. Having them on the field was valuable for the coaches and the parents as they were assured that there was someone on hand who was qualified to make medical decisions for any injured athletes.

3. The Bridge Between Middle School and High School Athletics
What students experience in middle school athletics will have the greatest impact on their desire and motivation to continue their involvement at the high school level.

One of the considerations often overlooked by coaches, parents and athletes is that these middle level participants are still growing and improving. The biggest and strongest in eighth grade may be passed up in high school by some who appear to be too small or too uncoordinated in those same years.

Coaches must work to keep all students convinced to work hard and to recognize that potential in middle school and high school are different, and they should not give up based on negative experiences with playing time or personal affirmation. There will be a place for those who commit themselves to success and it must start at the middle level.

One of the other major issues involves finding a “middle ground” on philosophies and program goals between both levels.

The high school coaches generally want to exert some influence on the middle school sports to ensure that their offenses or terminology have some consistency so they can avoid continual training at each level.

The middle school coaches can sometimes resent the “intrusion” of the high school coaches and want to feel they have some autonomy. In addition, they believe that the high school coaches may not recognize the developmental issues—and the sheer numbers—that are inherent in middle school coaching. It is difficult to just implement all the high school requirements on smaller bodies and less experienced players without some adjustments and accommodations.

In reality, both groups are right. The solution lies in the development of a cohesive communication system between the coaches and the buildings. The head coaches need to be visibly engaged with the middle school coaches and the players to build that all-important connection to the next level. With the high school coaches designing some overall goals and guidelines for their middle school counterparts, the chances are much greater that the middle school can truly serve as a bridge to the high school programs.

4. Parents
No athletic director is unfamiliar with the parent issue, but it has some unique factors at the middle school level. Middle schools like ours generally have a philosophy that advocates giving everyone a chance to develop to their full potential in a given sport. That might translate to some sacrifices in playing time, positions, and even winning records. Parents who are committed only to the win column and/or to their individual athlete may struggle with this philosophy.

While we do not “cut” athletes, we do assign them to designated teams (A, B, C) based on skill levels that must be demonstrated in some pre-season drills. For example, a student who cannot successfully execute a bounce pass or understand how to play a specific position in a basketball game will likely not make the “A” team. Each level provides coaching and skill development, but the amount and types of competition will vary, particularly at the “C” level.

This has become complicated in recent years with the increased number of competitive teams outside the school’s jurisdiction. Many parents are the coaches and view the decisions of the middle school staff with a jaundiced eye when their children are not automatically “A” team members.

As the athletic director, I have discussed this issue with parents on numerous occasions and have encouraged the coaches to explain the middle school philosophy at their parent meetings. In essence, we are trying to build a complete team that encourages and enhances the talents of each member of the team. Each member has a role to play and should accept that role to contribute to the team’s success.

5. Eligibility
This is definitely an area where the high school athletic director does not need more responsibility. At the high school level, participation in interscholastic sports is well defined by the NSAA requirements for credits and at the building level for participation. At the middle school, the requirements are less stringent but are still designed to send the message that academics precede extracurricular participation.

As a middle school athletic director, I am able to work individually with coaches, teaching teams, and counselors to address academic needs of students. For many students, participation in sports is the major motivation to attend school and to make academic progress, so encouragement and immediate consequences, when needed, are essential. If students are not able to see the connection between class performance and athletic participation at this level, they will quickly become disconnected from the high school sports program.

This is another reason that it helps to have the head coaches for each team at the middle school; they have direct access to students during the school day and not just at practice. This supports our middle school philosophy of addressing the whole child in academic and extracurricular pursuits.

Being a middle school athletic director is both challenging and rewarding, but it has some unique differences from the high school position. For the benefit of the middle school population and the parents of those students, it has been positive and productive to have the two separate positions. What makes the two positions successful is how well they work together. By maintaining strong, positive relationships with the high school athletic director and the high school coaches, the middle school program has been greatly enhanced. When the needs of the student-athletes are paramount and any “turf” issues are kept in perspective and cordially resolved, any problems can be minimized and every program can be maximized.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
Community: Ties that Bind
A keystone word has often been used to describe a high school’s support structure–Community. What that means from school to school, however, is no longer a given.

The responsibility of each party in this nebulous “community” contract has blurred tremendously in recent years. Many of the problems facing high school athletic programs today, however, can be traced to an erosion of the traditional community. Solutions will require resurrecting a community identity and engagement.

How those community ties are reinforced, resurrected or restructured will determine the viability of high school activities as we have known them.

Definitions of community vary, but one common thread is that it is a group organized around common values with a social cohesion within a geographical location. While geography seems less relevant with today’s worldwide connectivity, the need for commonality and cohesion remains.

How we create and maintain that cohesion will determine whether we have a binding community relationship or one where one party holds another in a form of bondage.

Many of the challenges that face our athletic departments today can leave us vulnerable to taking the “quick buck” and “fast fix” with little regard to the long-term effect it will have on the programs.

Some would argue we are at a crossroads.

Choose a Path
Path A would maintain allegiance to the education-based activities program that traditionally has emphasized broad participation and a localized support model.

Path B would gravitate toward an elite-performance model that attracts large corporate sponsorship dollars hungry to get their message in front of the developing tastes of our youth.

When you choose a path, what are the short- and long-term effects? Are the paths exclusive or can you create a hybrid path?

Whether you choose Path A, Path B or a hybrid, you must choose. Without that commitment it will be difficult to obtain the consensus support you need to succeed.

Each party must agree upon the nature of control and the level of balance. Without agreement, no long-term sustainability is possible.

Who owes what to whom at each step of the process? Is it clearly understood by all parties? Do all parties have a common goal? Is progress toward that goal communicated and verifiable?

Synergy can never be a by-product of a unilateral relationship. Only in a synergistic community can the parties be free enough to share and secure enough to get along.

A study in 1986 by McMillan and Chavis identified four elements necessary for a “sense of community”: 1) membership, 2) influence, 3) integration and fulfillment of needs, and 4) shared emotional connection. Too often one element dominates and, thus, community is compromised.

If the school, the parents, the business community, the taxpayers, or any other party decide one or more of the others owe them something, the community contract is in jeopardy.

The minute any party feels it has no obligation to or expectation of the other parties, the community contract has been breeched.

Not all relationships within the community will be equal, but they must be understood and agreed upon. This is where the school’s approach to the financial support structure that sustains them becomes crucial. From a financial standpoint for high school activities, it will often come down to deciding what control will be surrendered in exchange for capital.

For argument’s sake, we are going to assume that obtaining additional funding for athletics from the school’s general budget is not an option. We are looking to the community.

The bargaining chip called “control” often comes into play when deciding whether to use a Sponsorship or a Partnership model. You may have to use both to meet immediate and long-term needs.

Sponsorship is probably the quickest solution.

Usually sponsorship comes with a simple premise. One party needs money to meet needs. The second party provides money in exchange for a specific benefit (advertising exposure, access to student or parent market segment, ego gratification).

Sponsorship is often project-oriented, has a limited number of variables, and normally has a clearly defined lifetime.

If you can sell naming rights to the stadium or get a large cash donation from a foundation, cash the check and move on. If you can hold a single event or sell a bunch of products to a willing consumer base, then do it.

But is it really that easy?

There may be strings attached to those checks. A clear exchange of cash for product is simple, but you must make sure neither party has assumptions or unwritten expectations.

Partnership may have elements of the sponsorship route, but it goes further. A partnership requires commitment to a common goal as well as the goals of each party. It also has a shared exchange of resources–money, time, manpower, expertise, etc.

Partnerships usually have a long-term commitment as well as series of short-term solutions.

Sponsorships can be obtained anywhere. Partnerships typically only exist within your defined community.

Sponsorships can be stand-alones. Partnerships can become self-sustaining and permanent relationships to share future needs and goals.

It is probably ideal to develop a plan that provides for sponsorships and partnerships.

Building, sustaining, or resurrecting community support for high school activities programs is not a task for the faint-hearted or ill-prepared. It requires a commitment to the value of high school athletics and how you can best serve the youth of your community.

The community you serve and receive support from is a complicated puzzle. Not all the pieces will ever be in place. With a generally agreed-upon idea of what the big picture is supposed to look like, however, the chances of getting there are enhanced.

Maybe you can bind and heal some wounds in your community and alleviate some of the bondage athletic programs are often subject to under current conditions.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
A Helping Hand
Making Needed Improvements with Help from Your Community
Bill Fitzgerald, CMAA
NSIAAA Vice President
Needless to say, in these times of tighter budgets, less state funding, and the ongoing need to make upgrades in programs and equipment, a good working partnership with local businesses is essential to helping make ends meet and helping a school stretch its resources.

Fremont High School is not immune to funding cuts and difficult times while trying to maintain a comprehensive activities program. Being a Class A school, much is expected in opportunities for our students, and doing this creates financial needs. Fremont High School is fortunate to have partnered with a number of businesses in our community that help support our school in a variety of ways.

A program started before my arrival at FHS, but still continued today, is the partnership of businesses in our community purchasing advertising logos on our main gymnasium floor. Fremont was one of the first schools in Nebraska to do this, as there was a need for replacement of the Bahe Gymnasium floor. Advertising was sold to local businesses for a 10-year period, with their logo displayed on the gym floor for that period of time. All of the logos are very classy, are the same size on our floor, and display the individuality of each business without taking away from the esthetics of our facility. The new floor purchased during the first phase is still in use, in great condition, and businesses get the opportunity to be recognized at every home event, as well as many community and outside group uses on nights and weekends.

The most recent 10-year agreement for this advertising program was renewed in the spring of 2008, and all of the original advertisers agreed to continued support of our programs. In addition, two new sponsors were added, thus increasing revenue. Funds generated so far from this most recent venture have allowed for changes in our gymnasium and sideline seating for teams and fans, partial funding for resurfacing our tennis courts, and help in purchasing a new pole vault pit for our facility. Additional projects will be supplemented with this advertising revenue, and the businesses have the opportunity to see their funding at work in our school. These advertisers are also highlighted in our sports programs throughout the year, as we try in many ways to thank them for their generosity.

As equipment or facilities reach the end of their serviceable lifetime, sometimes a quick response is needed in order to replace items of essential use. Such was the case with our main scoreboards in Bahe Gymnasium a few years ago. The scoreboards' working lifetime was coming quickly to an end, and problems continued to pop up during events we hosted. These scoreboards were previously purchased in 1984 by two of our local banks and our Fremont Booster Club, with panels located below the scoreboards in recognition of advertisers' support. When I realized we would have to again replace the boards, I went to the presidents of these local institutions to request their assistance. I was thrilled to find that they were more than happy to help us with our needs, and new scoreboards were in place by the next calendar year because of their generosity. The advertising signage remains in place, and supporters are credited for their help at our home events.

The relationships you build in your community are often long lasting, very beneficial to both the school and the businesses, and essential to the continued upgrade of your activities programs in your communities. If you have not yet reached out and formed some of these partnerships in your towns, I would suggest you not delay this venture any longer. They see the need for support of activities in their communities and are excited to be a part of making your school a better place for the students and families in your community.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
The Educational Role of the Interscholastic Athletic Program
Providing Service to School and Community
Gary Stevens, CMAA
Thornton Academy AA, Saco, Maine
Author’s note: The topic for the panel discussion at the October fall conference of the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) focuses on the importance of community service in high school athletics. What follows is one athletic director’s approach to the issue and how a focus on service can enhance a program’s image in the school system and community.

What separates the work of the high school or middle school athletic director from that of his counterparts in the collegiate or professional ranks is the educational nature of his or her responsibilities. College athletic directors, on the other hand, are charged with conducting major fundraising ventures to build facilities and offer opportunities that will attract the top student-athletes.

The major emphasis at this level is upon creating a competitive environment in which programs can annually contend for conference championships and invitations to national tournaments. The net result of a successful program is measured in terms of wins and losses and the financial rewards that accrue from that success.

Similarly, a winning team and a large bottom line are standard components of the job description of the typical general manager of a professional sports franchise. Expectations of the front office and stockholders, not to mention the fan base, place the general manager of a professional organization in a position of intense pressure.

Under extreme scrutiny in the highly results-oriented world of professional athletics, the typical general manager works in an atmosphere with low tolerance for failure and great job insecurity.

In all fairness, high school athletic administrators experience many of the same pressures as do those who lead athletic programs at higher levels of competition. Communities rally around winning teams, and high school coaches are not immune from intense public pressure when their teams are not successful.

In some schools, the expectations of alumni and community members are akin to that at the college level. Much of the high school athletic director’s time may be spent dealing with challenging personalities who may not understand the mission of the interscholastic program.

In today’s economic climate, even high school athletic leaders are being asked to raise great amounts of money from non-public sources to support their athletic programs. In some states, such as Indiana, school districts provide very minimal financial resources for athletics.

For example, John Evers, an athletic director at Castle High School in Newburgh, Indiana, receives funding from his district to pay for coaching stipends, transportation and game officials. All other items in his budget, including equipment, facilities improvement, uniform purchases, and contracted services are funded through money he raises from ticket sales and corporate sponsorship of his school program.

A losing football season or basketball season means fewer people in the seats and reduced opportunities for advertising dollars.

Regardless of the pressure to win or the necessity to conduct their operations with shrinking budgets, high school athletic administrators cannot forget the major underlying purpose of their programs. Providing youngsters with educational opportunities in the competitive context of athletics and opportunities for personal and character development remain the top priorities of the best high school athletic programs. High school athletic directors who conduct their business with these goals in mind provide lifelong learning opportunities for the student-athletes in their schools.

Given that many public school systems are asking their secondary school athletic administrations to manage existing athletic programs with fewer dollars or demanding that athletic offerings be greatly reduced, it is imperative that those in leadership positions make the case for high school athletics.

Any individual who has coached youngsters on a school team or has overseen those efforts understands how the educational aspects of these activities complement and supplement the learning that occurs in the classroom every day. The playing fields, gymnasiums, and numerous other venues where athletics take place are classrooms for teaching life lessons such as teamwork, discipline, sportsmanship and problem-solving skills.

Making the case for interscholastic athletics must be part of the daily routine for all of us who are responsible for these programs. Selling the importance of athletics to the lives of those who participate and the greater community is part of an athletic administrator’s public-relations responsibilities.

Despite the untiring efforts and persistent dialogue of high school athletic directors to that effect, however, many school committees and members of the general public need to see something tangible beyond the rhetoric to fully understand the point.

As I begin the 2010-2011 school year, one of my goals for the athletic programs that I oversee is to promote the important role that community service plays in our department. Although a debate exists as to whether or not high school students should be required to do mandatory community service, my intention is to encourage student-athletes and their coaches to interact with community members and youth sports groups in the towns we serve and to document and promote those efforts.

Demonstrating a continued history of stewardship to the community is critical if one is to ask that same community to provide financial resources and support for one’s efforts. Most importantly, what is instilled in student-athletes through their efforts is the importance of a connection with people (many of whom may be in less fortunate circumstances) and the realization that one can make a difference in the lives of other people through the gifts of their time and talents.

In order to accomplish my objective of incorporating a sustained culture of community service in our school athletic program, I am utilizing a three-step plan. The process involves the following series of activities:

a. communicating the purposes of the plan to the athletic coaches
b. collecting and documenting evidence of various community service activities as they occur
c. promoting the culture to the public

A brief summary of each phase follows.

Communicating the Plan

A goal of involving student-athletes in community service is not viable unless the idea is communicated to coaches and student-athletes and they are convinced that it is important. The athletic administrator might consider a number of different options for communicating this objective. These include:

a. coaching staff meetings in which there are opportunities for input and feedback
b. individual meetings with coaches that occur at the beginning of or during the season
c. captain’s councils or other student-athlete groups that may exist within the school
d. parent information nights

During meetings with coaches or student-athletes, athletic administrators should gauge the degree of commitment these individuals may have to the cause and gain a sense of what their definition of community service is. What is critical for a community service component to be successful is that there is “buy in” from the individuals who will be doing the work.

Without commitment and a clear understanding of the importance of service to others, the best-laid plans will fail.

Collecting the Evidence

During the initial conversations about community service in athletics and subsequent meetings with coaches and athletes, the athletic administrator should be constantly collecting data about the types of activities that athletic teams are doing above and beyond their preparation for contests. Community service is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of possibilities, including, but not limited to:

a. collecting funds to support a charity of choice
b. providing services such as yard work or other routine chores to community members in need
c. assisting in the repair or general maintenance of school facilities
d. maintaining the athletic facility that a given team uses
e. assisting in the coaching or officiating of youth athletic events

Once collected, this information should be documented through a variety of methods. In addition to maintaining lists of activities that school teams are involved in, an athletic administrator may consider collecting video or photographic evidence of these efforts.

Over time an athletic administrator will have a large collection of choices from which coaches in future years might consider. In addition, he or she will have an archive of material establishing the legacy of a given generation of student-athletes.

Promoting the Program

Whenever possible, an athletic administrator should promote the positive happenings occurring within the athletic program. Effective use of publicity about community service efforts can help enhance the athletic program’s image by demonstrating its sense of stewardship. Among the tools an athletic director might employ to promote service activities are:

a. public presentations before the school committee (particularly effective during the budget season)
b. displaying these efforts on the school’s athletic website
c. press releases to print and electronic media
d. student-written articles in the school newspaper about what they have learned from their service to others
e. programming on student-operated television and radio stations about these projects

Although there is no guarantee that even the most comprehensive community service program is a sure bet to stave off potential budget cuts, an athletic director’s major focus should always be upon the educational opportunities it presents for student-athletes. Being true to the educational purpose that drives interscholastic athletics is critical to making a difference in the lives of young people.

The athletic director who promotes the concept of giving to school and community and provides opportunities for these types of experiences fosters a culture much richer than one simply measured by wins and losses.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
Community-Building Partnerships
Jay Rader
Editor, FIAAA News
Once upon a time, high school athletics were rather simple. Communities (towns, cities) rallied around the ONE school within the “city” limits; athletic events, most notably football Friday in the fall and basketball in the winter, were good, wholesome, affordable entertainment for the entire family; partnerships were often no more than a handshake with locally owned and operated businesses.

High school athletics in the 21st century are much more complex—and therefore so are community-building and partnership endeavors. Few “communities” house just one school within their geographical boundaries; partnerships more often than not have the word "corporate" in their description and are less likely to be locally owned and operated; and there are so many more entertainment options available today.

That’s not to say those simple athletic environments don’t still exist in some areas across the country—and kudos to those schools that can use the historic community pride in education and their schools to sustain a successful athletic program.

Let’s be clear: community support and partnerships are very important to the success of an athletic program. Depending on how much funding comes from school districts and other sources, community support and partnerships can be vital to providing the basics for a program or providing enhanced benefits to take a program to a higher level.

There is no “one scenario fits all” in terms of community building and partnerships; each school community is unique, and there are probably no new programs or ideas to achieve such. Schools probably just need to pick and choose from the already tried-and-true options.

Probably the oldest way is to solicit community ads in sports programs, which has expanded to stadium signage—and the biggest opportunity, naming rights for facilities or buildings. “School nights” at local businesses and “sponsor nights” at events have become popular as have coupon books and cards.

A kind of community support and partnership that does not involve actual raising of funds is a reciprocal facilities arrangement whereby the school uses certain community facilities in exchange for use of school classrooms and facilities.

The depressed state of the economy in general is only part of the problem as it relates to community building and partnerships in high school athletics.

Today, the concept of community building and partnerships is more defined by school population community than the traditional community concept; the advent of magnet schools and school of choice options and the growth of private schools with no set attendance boundaries all contribute to the reality that more and more often students attend schools in “communities” in which they do not live. And although this does not preclude businesses from getting involved with local schools, it more often becomes a function of the parents of students who attend the school generating the business contacts and support, regardless of the geographical location of the business.

There is also the philosophical debate about the commercialization of high school athletics. In Florida, you cannot put advertising on school uniforms. But there are 67 counties in Florida; each county is its own school district and therefore makes its own policies regarding financial assistance for athletic departments in its schools. Partnerships with businesses to raise funds sometimes face rigorous scrutiny to avoid any possible appearance of exploitation.

It is not a pleasant thought to express, but community building and partnerships are not easy to accomplish. They take work. But if you believe in your product, it is a product worth working hard to sell.

And when all is said and done, that is probably the key. If you believe in the product (your athletic program), you will find a way to sell it to your school community, and support and partnerships will follow.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
You Know You're Living in 2010 When…
1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)

12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly who you are going to send this to.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled look back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
Nebraska Niblets
Happenings Around the State
Chadron Student Earns NIAAA Section 5 Scholarship
Shelby Budler, a senior at Chadron High School, was one of two sectional winners of $1,000 scholarships in the NIAAA scholarship competition for 2009-2010. Budler, the daughter of Cletus and Brenda Budler of Chadron, was selected at the NIAAA Section 5 meeting this summer along with Connor Johnson of Colfax, North Dakota.

The scholarships recognize the distinguished scholastic, leadership and sportsmanship attributes of high school student-athletes and the importance of high school athletics in each student’s life. Each applicant at the state level writes an essay on “How High School Athletics has Impacted my Life.”

Sectional winners advance to a national-level competition that nets two students with $2,000 scholarships and a trip to the NIAAA National Conference, this December in Orlando, Florida.

Full details on the program, including the application forms for the 2010-2011 NIAAA Scholarship Program, are now available.

21 Under Takes NSIAAA Golf Tournament
The annual NSIAAA Golf Tournament was held at the scenic Indian Trails Country Club in Beemer, Nebraska, on June 23. Seventy-three golfers navigated their way through the trees and hills lining the Elkhorn River. The winning team carded a scorching 51, 21 strokes under par. The foursome included Minden Athletic Director Carl Ashman, Hastings Athletic Director Greg Holliday, Steve Sampy and Bentley Benson.

NSIAAA & NFHS Education and Certification Programs
The NSIAAA fully endorses and promotes the NFHS Coach Education Program and Coach Certification Program. The NFHS and the NSIAAA believe that by creating a shared incentive for the promotion of certain coaching education courses, they will serve the interests of the nation's high school students. Learn all the details here.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit

NSIAAA Newsletter NSIAAA Newsletter - Back to School 2010
National Conference Returns to Florida
Orlando World Center Marriott Resort, December 15-19
The 41st National Athletic Director’s Conference will convene in Orlando, Florida, this December. This year’s event will be hosted by the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort, December 15-19.

Sponsored by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), the conference is the single premier convention that provides an outstanding educational in-service program for interscholastic athletic administrators. This first-class conference features professional speakers and an exhibit show with more than 250 exhibitors, as well as authoritative athletic administrators who willingly share their experience and expertise on a variety of subjects.

The NIAAA will again hold its business functions in conjunction with the conference, along with its popular Leadership Training Institute. There will be a total of 33 courses that cover a variety of subjects, and early registration is a must, as classes fill rapidly.

All courses are outstanding, and you will want to work at least one into your conference schedule. The NFHS will again be offering Fundamentals of Coaching. This course is unique as it has been developed by and for interscholastic coaches. It addresses the mission and purpose of education-based sport and the role the coach plays.

Program agenda and online registration are available through the NIAAA.

© All-American Sports Posters® | Visit