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NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
Executive Director's Message
NADA Conference Years in the Making
Larry Goins, CMAA
Dear NADA Colleagues,

As we near yet another annual NADA Conference, I can't help but think back to the very first conference. Dr. Jerry Hughes took the initiative to begin this organization in 1988, 26 conferences ago. The first conference was held in Carson City and there was not much more than a handful of attendees. I am not sure that even he envisioned where we would be today.

I hope and believe that anyone who has attended any of the recent conferences looks forward to the next with anticipation. We have grown not only into an organization that helps and promotes athletic administration, but a family of professionals that helps and supports each other in our efforts to support and promote high school athletics throughout the state. Indications are that every high school in the state association, all 106 (including those from California and now Arizona), will have at least one representative at this years conference. I don't think that anyone will be disappointed.

We have the largest number of members we have ever had enrolled in the LTI classes we are teaching with over 35 enrolled and 10 of them receiving scholarships to pay for either LTI 501 or LTI 502 from the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA). We also have a great group of vendors that have indicated, in spite of continued difficult economic times, that they will again be in attendance to meet and support us in our efforts. Finally we have two excellent presenters scheduled to share their insights and expertise with us. Most notably, one of NADA's all time favorite and best speakers, Dr. Greg Dale of Duke University returns, fresh from the NIAAA Conference in San Antonio where he was one of the keynote speakers. All of these things, coupled with the NIAA State Basketball Tournament, the NIAA Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and all of the quality events that the NIAA does promises to make this a great conference.

In closing, I want to thank all of the members of the NADA Planning Committee who work tirelessly and with complete unselfishness to put this conference together. Please be sure to thank them for their efforts! In addition, I would also like to put forth an invitation to each and every one of you to get involved in this fine organization. Ask any member what you can do and please plan to attend our post conference-debriefing meeting on Saturday, May 23rd. The members of the committee will be listed in your conference materials and any of them will be able to tell you the time and place of this meeting.

Finally, in closing, I want to leave you with some words of wisdom and a challenge to you that was first spoken by President Theodore Roosevelt. As you go about your daily duties and strive to challenge the coaches and athletes in our schools, the following may be a mantra to remember and promote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

May God bless each of you with the strength, knowledge, ability and resources to do the monumental jobs that you have undertaken in leading the young people of this great nation.

Thank you for all that each of you do.
Larry Goins, CMAA
Executive Director
Nevada Athletic Directors Association

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NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
2013 NADA Conference
Packed Event Coming in February
The 2013 Nevada Athletic Directors Conference will be held in conjunction with the NIAA State Basketball Tournament. This year, the conference will be at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, February 21-23. This years conference is going to be packed with information and motivation as well as a sharing of a number of cutting edge ideas from workshop leaders and vendors.

Among the other activities during the busy days in Las Vegas will be the recognition of peers and colleagues. Please take a moment to nominate an Athletic Director of the Year and an Athletic Secretary of the Year so they can be honored at this year’s conference.

Nomination forms are available here.

Speakers for this year’s conference are Dr. Gregory A. Dale, Ph.D., Professor of Sport Psychology and Sport Ethics, Duke University, and Dennis Goodwin.
To learn more about the conference program and schedule of speakers, click here.

If you haven't registered yet, please do so now. 2013 NADA Conference Registration.

Another key component of the Conference is the availability of LTI Courses. While the registration deadline to assure materials has passed (January 13), and a record number of LTI participants have registered, it is still possible to get into the classes if you desire. LTI course descriptions and registration materials are available here.

LTI Classes during our conference will offered on Wednesday, February 20th and Saturday, February 23 at Orleans Conference Center.

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NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
2013 NADA Conference
Keynote Speakers Motivate and Inspire
Dr. Gregory A. Dale, Ph.D., Professor of Sport Psychology and Sport Ethics, Duke University and Dennis Goodwin will be keynote speakers during the 21st NADA Conference in Las Vegas.

Dr. Dale will be making two presentations: one focused on The Art of Coaching and the other on Parents of Student Athletes.

“The Art of Coaching: Strategies for Helping Coaches Develop More Confident, Consistent and Coachable Athletes”
This workshop emphasizes the importance of coaches earning credibility with athletes as well as the dynamics of group development and productivity. Particular emphasis is placed on helping coaches use effective communication and motivation tactics.

“Parents of Student Athletes: Strategies for Helping Them Maintain a Proper Perspective”
This thought provoking workshop provides Athletic Administrators with strategies to help parents of student-athletes to analyze the type of environment they are creating for their children. Participants will leave the workshop with specific strategies they can use to help this important group of people keep sport in perspective.

Dennis Goodwin will be presenting a discussion of “Can you Recognize if Bullying or Hazing is Happening on Your Team” Can you recognize if bullying or hazing is happening on your team or in your classroom? Do you know who is the most powerful person is to stop the bully or the hazing? Do you know the differences between how females and males bully or haze on athletic teams? Find out the answers to these questions and learn how to prevent bullying or hazing to happen to your student athletes.

More About the Speakers

Gregory A. Dale, Ph.D. is a Professor of Sport Psychology and Sport Ethics at Duke University. He is also Director of the Sport Psychology and Leadership Programs for Duke Athletics. In addition to his work with Duke athletes and coaches, Greg consults with numerous high school, college and professional athletes and teams. He also provides interactive and engaging professional development workshops for high school and middle school coaches as well as workshops for parents and student athletes.

Greg has written four books related to coaching, parenting and performance in sport. In addition, he has written scripts and served as the “expert” on a series of thirteen videos on leadership, performance and parenting. Greg has been featured on Good Morning America, ESPN, MSNBC, Court TV and numerous national radio programs. He is a member of the Sport Psychology Staff for USA Track and Field.

Dennis Goodwin is a professional licensed science teacher in Massachusetts. He has been teaching for over twenty years at both middle and high school levels, while also instructing students attending community college. He has been involved in athletics for over thirty years as a varsity lacrosse coach, basketball official, and baseball umpire. Dennis also presents classroom management, anti-bullying and hazing programs to teachers, administrators, coaches and parents throughout the country. His sense of humor and personal experiences allow the participants to understand strategies that will help them recognize when bullying or hazing is occurring, whether it is in the classroom or out on the field.

Dennis is married to his wife, Patricia Goodwin, and has a thirteen-year- old daughter, Hannah. In his free time, he loves playing golf and spending time with his family. His website can be accessed at

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NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
NADA and NIAAA Scholarship Deadline Approaches
Each year the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association conducts a scholarship contest to recognize and award one deserving boy and one deserving girl with a scholarship. This year the Nevada Athletic Directors Association has decided to support this process by awarding the Nevada state winners with a $500 scholarship. This is in addition to the $1000 scholarship awarded to the Section VII (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Utah and Nevada) winner and the $2000 given to the National winner.

We are hopeful that we will receive an entry from each high school in our state association. Last year the state winners were Julia Dufurena and Jace Billingsley. Both are from Lowery High School in Winnemucca. In addition, Jace was not only selected as the Section VII winner but also one of two National winners.

The information and guidelines for the scholarship are listed below. The NADA application can be accessed online here. Complete details of the NIAAA National program are available here.

Please note: The deadline for Nevada entries will be Friday, February 1, 2013. This is so the winning essay can be presented at the NADA Conference in Reno on Friday, February 24th.

Completed entries should be sent to:
Xavier Antheaume, Dean of Students
Chaparral High School
3850 Annie Oakley Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89121

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NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
Scholarship Winner
Billingsley Becomes Nevada's First National Winner
Jace Billingsley and Julia Defurena from Winnemucca's Lowry High School were the NADA Essay Scholarship winners in 2012 and Billingsley took the effort a little further.

In late spring he was selected as the NIAAA Section 7 winner and received a $1,000 scholarship from the NIAAA.

In July, Jace was selected by the NIAAA board as the national male scholarship recipient for 2012. He attended the NIAAA/NFHS Conference in San Antonio Texas in December. Jace started off the conference by reading his essay during the opening session in front of several thousand athletic directors and administrators. He also received an additional $2,000 scholarship.

Read Jace's Essay here.

Its an honor for Jace and the members of NIAA to have a national winner from our state. It certainly is a testament that some things we are doing is good.

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NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
NIAA Hall of Fame
NIAA to Induct Nine to Hall of Fame
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, the non-profit governing body of high school athletics in the Silver State, will be inducting nine Southern Nevadans this year to its annual Nevada high school Hall of Fame. The induction will take place on Thursday, February 21 at 11 a.m. in the Orleans Arena during the state basketball tournament and NADA Conference.

The individuals set to be inducted as the NIAA’s 21st class – Greg Anthony, Martin Barrett, Mark Coleman, Rodger Fairless, David Gerber, Tona Lytle, William O’Dea, Greg Spencer and Dean Thornock – have secured for themselves a special place in the history of Nevada high school athletics by the magnitude of their contributions to the youth of the Silver State.

"The nine individuals we are inducting have contributed greatly to high school athletics in Nevada as an administrator, athlete, coach, contributor and/or official,” said Eddie Bonine, Executive Director of the NIAA. “They have made a positive impact on the young men and women of our state in some very important ways and have helped to make many of their dreams come true."

For details on all the winners and reservation information to attend the event, go here. RESERVATION CLOSURE IS: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15 Tickets will not be sold at the door.

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NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
LTI Offerings
Spring 2013 LTI Webinar Classes
We are pleased to announce that the NIAAA will be webinar teaching LTC 501, 502, 504, 506, 508, 611, 619 and 700 via the internet in the spring of 2013. The athletic administrator will be able to view the course from the convenience of their home or office. Administrators will also have the opportunity to pose live questions and the class can be divided into discussion groups with the capability of receiving reports from each groups. What better way to take a class? There will be no travel time and no travel costs (gas, meals or lodging).

Our suggestion would be to use the computer that is connected to the greatest bandwidth (DSL, Cable or T-1 line) which could be at your school if you do not have high speed internet connection at home. However you can get the broadcast with a 56K / dial up modem. The only issue here is that this type of internet connection will be slower since pictures/PowerPoint take longer to download. You will also need sound card, speakers and microphone on your computer in order to hear the instructor and participate in conversation and ask questions.

Equipment Needed
Personal Computer with internet access, sound card, speakers and microphone.

Course Dates (Spring-2013)

Tues, March 26 and April 2

Thurs, April 11 and April 18

Tues, April 9 and April 16

Wed, April 10 and April 17

Mon, March 25 and April 1

Wed, March 27 and April 3

Thurs, March 28 and April 4

Mon, April 8 and April 15

Course Times

The Courses will be taught by experienced faculty. Each class will be a 120 minute session, taught on two consecutive Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings.

7:30 to 9:30 pm Eastern 4:30 – 6:30 pm Pacific
6:30 to 8:30 pm Central 2:30 to 4:30 pm Alaska
5:30 to 7:30 pm Mountain 1:30 to 3:30 pm Hawaii


The NIAAA has established a fee of $125 for each webinar course. Download and complete the enrollment form from the NIAAA website by Clicking Here and use your credit card or pay by check returning the form with payment to the Cheryl Van Paris, NIAAA, 9100 Keystone Crossing, Suite 650, Indianapolis, Indiana 46240. When using a credit card you can fax the enrollment form to 317-587-1451.

Registration deadline for 501, 504, 506 and 619 will be March 11, 2013. Registration deadline for 502, 508, 611 and 700 will be March 25, 2013. Classes will be limited to a maximum of 25 students. Course manuals will be sent to you prior to the first class.

Certificates and Missed Classes

Certificates will be mailed to those that complete the entire course. You must be able to participate in both sessions in order to receive credit for completing the course and receive a certificate of completion. If you must miss one of the two sessions, you will be required to view the recording of the missed session in order to receive the certificate of completion. All sessions will be recorded and available for viewing.

For additional information contact the NIAAA office at 317-587-1450 or

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NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
Coaching Education
Teacher-Coaches – An Endangered Species?
Mike Williams, CMAA
Increasingly, schools and school systems are under intense pressure to meet testing expectations and goals. Testing modalities, such as PSAT, SAT and ACT College Entrance Exams, Advanced Placement Exams, and High School Assessments, have focused teacher recruitment on the very best academicians

The focus on quality teachers is logical, but may have also contributed to a decline in the number of certified teacher-coaches and activity advisers in almost every jurisdiction in the country. High school athletics and activities, as they have been known for decades, may be endangered.

High school principals and athletic administrators, as a result of this narrowed academic focus, have been forced to hire emergency community coaches. These community coaches come to an athletic and activity environment that, in theory and in practice, should be student-centered and education-based.

All too often, the emergency community coach works only with winning in mind. The win-at-all-costs philosophy neglects the two most desired outcomes of student involvement in athletics and activities:

  • The promotion of lifelong learning, in and out of the classroom, and

  • The development of better citizens and people with shared core values.

  • Experience has taught teacher-coaches that students who are learners and growing in character are more likely to be winners on and off the field of competition than those who are not. Coupled with other pressures on teacher-coaches, many schools and school systems have seen the number of coaches who are actually teachers in the schoolhouse decline to less than 50 percent.

    These other pressures such as stagnant and insufficient financial compensation, time demands, unreasonable parent expectations, a struggling economy and competition with outside club and travel teams have severely limited the identification, recruitment and retention of certified teacher-coaches.

    Coaches and activity sponsors – emergency community or certified – can make an activity or sport undesirable if they do not have a student-centered, education-based philosophy and approach. At best, “if it ain’t fun,” student participation will be limited. At worst, this will end student participation.

    Schools with teacher-coaches and sponsors who make participation fun and challenging have better school and community atmospheres. Improved school and community spirit improves the overall atmosphere for learning in the schoolhouse – students want to be in school. In turn, the improved atmosphere enhances the support of the vision, missions, goals, policies and procedures of the board of education while creating support for board of education
    short- and long-term budgets.

    Students who are not participating in activities and/or athletics are not connected to the school. Disconnected students who have no “ownership” – at best – lack academic motivation and struggle with attendance. At worst, they may become a Columbine shooter.

    And, as many previous articles in this magazine have pointed out, students who participate in education-based activities and athletics are more likely to be motivated, creative learners and better citizens. They are also more likely to be leaders and Fortune 500 CEOs.

    So, how is this undesired trend reversed? Here are some suggested strategies. They should be used in concert with existing programs, not considered as stand-alone options.

  • Educate the Board of Education, Superintendent, Staff and Community: Constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to promote the value of high school athletics and activities. Newsletters, Web sites, board of education reports, video and camera shots, parent orientations, booster club and PTA meetings, and all media sources should be used for this purpose.

  • The Hiring Process: From the beginning of the application process and the first interview, this question should be asked: “What else can you do that will enhance students’ high school experiences?” The teacher candidates who are willing and able to provide both should be the first hired when everything else is equal. Established written procedures should be developed and implemented so that the process is not open to interpretation.

  • Financial Compensation: Some school districts have not had a cost-of-living increase in three years. It has even been longer for coaches and activity sponsors in many districts. Find the money to fairly compensate teachers for a career in education and coaching that is as essential as any profession in society.

  • Coaching Education: Require all coaches to be trained in student-centered, education-based athletics and activities. Provide financial help whenever possible by setting aside gate receipts, booster club donations or sponsorships. Not only should they talk the talk, they should walk the walk.
    Properly educated coaches promote learning, citizenship, good sportsmanship and fair, wholesome competition.

  • Mentoring: Experienced, good coaches should be partnered with beginning coaches. Seasoned out-of-season coaches should be matched with younger in-season coaches. It does not matter that they coach different sports. It may be that rapport with the students and parents is more important than X’s and O’s or that planning a day’s practice plan is more important than planning a pregame social. This also gives the mentor-coach the opportunity to observe practices and contests in order to provide feedback to the younger coach. Athletic administrators should not be the only “go-to” colleagues when new coaches need advice, guidance or assistance.

  • Coaches and sponsors educated and mentored in best practices and standards of care in a student-centered, education-based interscholastic athletic and activities program are less likely to burn out. Students, similarly educated, are less likely to be unsportsmanlike and more likely to benefit from and enjoy the experience. Parents will be less likely to interfere with what are traditionally coaching decisions: team selection, playing time, positions played, tactics and strategies.

    Fairly compensating coaches and sponsors, along with providing facilities, uniforms and equipment, transportation and officials, all require adequate funding. Boards of education, superintendents and school administrators will be more likely to find the necessary financial and human resources to adequately support an education-based athletics and activities program even in the toughest of economic hard times.

    Mike Williams, CMAA, is coordinator of athletics for the Howard County Public School System in Ellicott City, Maryland

    This article is reprinted with permission from High School Today, September 2012.

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    NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
    Legal Issues
    Lessons from the Penn State Scandal
    Dr. Lee Green, J.D.
    Baker University
    Knowledge plus deliberate indifference.

    Now that Jerry Sandusky has been convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, and now that Special Investigative Counsel Louis Freeh’s 267-page report has meticulously detailed the multi-year cover-up by Penn State University leaders of Sandusky’s crimes, and now that the NCAA has levied unprecedented sanctions against Penn State and its athletics program, what are the lessons to be learned from these events regarding the development and implementation of child-protection policies by school districts and scholastic athletics programs?

    Knowledge plus deliberate indifference.

    In the late 1990s, the U.S. Supreme Court issued rulings in two cases dealing with the responsibility of school districts to protect students from sexual harassment. In Gebser v. Lago Vista ISD, a 1998 decision dealing with the liability of schools and school personnel for sexual harassment of a student by a school employee, and Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, a 1999 ruling dealing with the liability of schools and school personnel for sexual harassment of a student by another student, the Supreme Court ruled that “schools will be held strictly liable when someone in a position to take remedial action has knowledge that the harassment is occurring and exhibits deliberate indifference to remedying the situation.”

    Knowledge plus deliberate indifference.

    The legal standard established by the Gebser and Davis cases is that schools and school personnel will incur automatic liability for the sexual harassment suffered by a student or young person participating in a school-sponsored or school-related activity if someone in a position to take corrective action knew that the harassment was taking place, failed to immediately report the abuse to the appropriate parties, and even if a timely report was made, neglected to follow up to ensure that investigation and remediation of the harassment occurred.

    In the Penn State situation, four senior university officials – former university president Graham Spanier, former senior vice president for finance Gary Schultz, former athletic director Timothy Curley and former head football coach Joe Paterno – are alleged to have had knowledge of multiple acts of child sexual abuse by Sandusky beginning in 1998 and for 14 years to have covered up those acts, failing to report the incidents to authorities as required by a federal crimes-on-campus reporting law and a Pennsylvania state child abuse reporting statute, failing to report the incidents to university trustees, and failing to restrict Sandusky’s access to university facilities in order to protect from him children who might visit the campus for university-related activities and events.

    Knowledge plus deliberate indifference.

    In addition to the legal standard established by the Gebser and Davis cases, the Supreme Court held in its 2009 decision in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School District that school personnel may incur personal financial liability when they know about and ignore instances of abuse. In the Fitzgerald case, a female student allegedly suffered a combination of sexual harassment, physical abuse and bullying from a male classmate and the Court’s ruling inferred that the knowledge-plus-deliberate-indifference standard may apply to a broad range of forms of harassment in educational institutions, including child abuse, sexual harassment, hazing and bullying.

    The key lesson from the Penn State scandal for school districts, scholastic athletics programs and school personnel is that it is imperative that districts develop and implement strong and effective anti-harassment policies to protect students, student-athletes and youths visiting a campus or participating in school-sponsored or
    school-related events. Four considerations should be taken into account when developing such a policy.

    Consideration No. 1: Content of the Policy

  • The policy should encompass the often-overlapping issue of sexual harassment, hazing, bullying and child abuse.
  • The policy should begin with a statement of purpose setting forth the district’s commitment to protecting from harassment both students and non-student participants in school-sponsored or school related activities.
  • The policy should clearly enumerate all prohibited behaviors by school personnel, including protocols eliminating to the greatest extent possible one adult-one child interactions, the context within which most child abuse and sexual harassment occurs.
  • The policy should mandate that to the greatest extent possible, adult-child contact needs to be observable and interceptable by other school personnel.
  • The policy should include procedures for conducting background checks on all persons who will have contact with students or non-student participants in any activity on school property or sponsored by the school, including not just district employees, but also non-employee third parties and volunteers who play a role in extracurricular activities, summer camps on school property, school sponsored trips for students and other such school-related events.
  • The policy should enumerate all prohibited behaviors by students toward other students and non-students regarding hazing and bullying and should include procedures to ensure adequate supervision by adults of all school-related activities to prevent peer harassment, hazing, bullying or abuse.

  • Consideration No. 2: Reporting Procedures

  • Reporting procedures should be included in the policy mandating the immediate reporting to the school district employee designated to receive such reports of any observed or suspected instance of harassment, hazing, bullying or abuse. School districts are required by federal law to have a Title IX reporting officer to investigate allegations of gender discrimination and harassment and this individual would be the logical designee in an integrated harassment-hazing-bullying-abuse policy to receive such reports. Contact information for the reporting officer, including address, phone and e-mail, should be provided.
  • Reporting procedures should impose the duty to report upon all school employees, volunteers (e.g., coaches, teachers’ aides and others who are not technically employees, yet who assist with or participate in school activities and events) and students.
  • Reporting procedures should set forth in detail the requirements of the applicable state child abuse reporting law and impose the duty upon all school employees, volunteers and students to immediately report to the appropriate law enforcement authority any observed or suspected instance of harassment, hazing, bullying or abuse covered by the statute. Contact information for the law enforcement authority or agency designated by the state law, including address, phone and e-mail, should be clearly identified in the policy. A comprehensive, up-to-date listing of all state child abuse reporting statutes, including the detailed requirements of each state law, is available at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway Web site at

  • Consideration No. 3: Communication of the Policy to School Personnel and Students

  • Effective implementation of the policy requires that interested parties, including those individuals who have reporting duties under the policy and those who may potentially seek the protections of the policy, be educated regarding the policy’s purpose, specific provisions and reporting procedures.
  • Communication strategies might include in-service training for school personnel accompanied by distribution of hard copies of the policy and evidenced by sign-offs from each individual, educational programs for students accompanied by distribution of hard copies and evidenced by sign-offs, posting of the policy on the school’s Web site, and program-specific communication techniques such as for an athletic program incorporating the policy into coaching handbooks, student-athlete sports participation agreements and discussion of the policy at meetings of athletics personnel, student-athletes and parents.

  • Consideration No. 4: Ongoing Monitoring of the Policy

  • Effective long-term implementation of the policy will require a high level of vigilance to ensure that, as turnover occurs in school personnel and students, each new generation” of administrators, staff, teachers, athletics personnel, activity supervisors, volunteers, students and parents is informed about all aspects of the policy and incentivized to adhere to all of the mandates and reporting requirements set forth in the policy.
  • The Freeh Report, issued on July 12, 2012, sets forth 119 specific recommendations for the development and implementation of child protection policies by educational institutions and might serve as a valuable resource for school and athletics administrators as they work to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of policies. The recommendations are based on a comprehensive investigation conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s law firm, including 430 interviews of Penn State personnel and constituents, examination of 3.5 million documents and electronic communications, evaluation of standards of practice at other universities and youth-serving organizations, and input regarding child protection guidelines from law enforcement agencies, government agencies, child advocacy agencies and athletics governing bodies. The full text of the report is available at

  • Lee Green is an attorney and a professor at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, where he teaches courses in sports law, business law and constitutional law. He is a member of the High School Today Publications Committee. He may be contacted at Lee.Green@BakerU.Edu.

    ©2012 Reprinted with permission of High School Today, a publication of the National Federation of State High School Associations.

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    NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
    The Athlete's Parent
    Tom Doyle
    "Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference." (David Oxberg )

    I often think that the problem we have in our world today is that we have a 1st Amendment that basically says that we can say anything we want, anytime we want, any place we want. But we have no corresponding 2nd Amendment that says we have an obligation to “listen”. Most of us had classes throughout our lives that taught us “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic”, but very few of us ever had classes that taught us how to listen.

    We have probably all had the experience of how it made us feel when someone really listened to us and made us feel important. Coaches and athletic administrators need to be outstanding listeners. How do we do that? I believe we need to consciously implement a new plan which I call L-I-S-T-E-N.

  • L – Look them in the eye. I believe that we hear with our ears, but we really listen with our eyes.

  • I – Inquiry Method. Instead of making statements, ask questions to find out what the other person is thinking so that you can learn what it feels like to walk in their shoes.

  • S – Shut your Mouth. We spend most of our listening time framing our response to what the other person is saying. Instead, don’t respond, don’t correct, just let them talk. Many people aren’t actually looking for you to solve their problem; they just want to be able to express it; they want to be able to tell their story!

  • T – Tell them what they said. You demonstrate that you really heard and understood by repeating and rephrasing what they told you. “If I understood you correctly, you are I have that right?”

  • E – Empathy. Demonstrate empathy for the other person’s position. “I know it isn’t easy being a parent and I now understand your concerns.” Let them know that you can identify with their pain and confusion.

  • N – Navigate to New solutions. What happened yesterday obviously didn’t work...that is why the parent is upset and concerned. So where are we going to go from here. Let go of the past and look to new ways of thinking to resolve issues.

  • If we truly L-I-S-T-E-N to our parents, we will be able to communicate more effectively and help them realize that we are partners in the process, each with a role, and each with the best interest of the student-athlete in mind. When we demonstrate the ability to listen to a parent, we communicate our love and concern and have a greater opportunity to turn “a lemon into lemonade” and produce a positive outcome.


    Tom Doyle recently retired from a 30 year career in education. He coached football and a combination of baseball, basketball, and track for over 20 of those years. Tom taught History and served as Athletic Director during much of that career and has been active in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), the Washington State Athletic Directors' Association (WSSAAA), and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators' Association (NIAAA). He has been named Washington State's Athletic Director of the Year (2001) and was inducted into the WSSAAA Hall of Fame in 2005. Tom, has authored several books and is currently the business manager for Personal Perceptions Northwest (PPNW), providing True Colors presentations to businesses, schools, and teams throughout the Northwest. You can contact Tom directly at or visit his website.

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    NADA News NADA News - Winter 2013
    Captains' Corner
    Teaching Essential Skills and Strategies Team Leaders and Captains Should Understand
    (part two of a three-part series)
    Craig Hillier
    Fall is a great time to invigorate and inspire team leaders and captains to create a season of significance. Part one of this article series (link) provided specific steps to launch a leadership training program at your school. Athletic directors who are committed to developing their team leaders and captains continue to tell me their efforts have paid off tremendously.

    A question I’m often asked is this, “What specific areas should be covered during training?” Because sports vary significantly, there is no cookie-cutter answer. I often tell students that, “Leadership training is like eating at a buffet. It’s nearly impossible to like every food. The key is to take the food you like and be willing to sample something you have never tasted. Similarly, not every topic or content area will be relevant to every sport.”
    For example, “working with officials” won’t be as beneficial to golfers or gymnasts as it will be to football or basketball players. So, when you’re conducting leadership training, it’s important to remind students, to take what works and apply it to their sport, knowing they are not going to be able to apply everything presented. This said, during leadership sessions, it’s beneficial to combine leadership lessons so athletes from every sport have at least a couple of takeaways.

    Regardless of the content, it’s vital to have an objective for the meeting. Just having athletes update each other on their season will not cut it. Just like the classroom, it’s vital to establish a lesson plan.

    Some core skills, strategies, and discussions you could cover during team leader/captain’s training are:

  • Qualities of great team leaders

  • Team captain responsibilities

  • How to create a season of significance

  • Pre-season preparations

  • Setting goals

  • Staying organized

  • How to set the tone as a leader

  • How to work with vendors

  • Creating a strong working relationship with the coaching staff

  • Dealing with conflict and crisis

  • Staying drug and alcohol free

  • Creating team chemistry

  • Detrimental effects of hazing

  • Understanding personality styles

  • Sportsmanship

  • Being a leader outside the sport

  • Sports nutrition

  • Leaving a legacy

  • This content can be presented in several ways, including: group discussions, activities, videos/DVDs, guest speakers, articles, and online learning tools. Mix it up and present the information in a variety of ways.

    After you have determined how often you are going to meet with your team leaders (see options in part one of this article series), it’s time to begin the meetings.

    The following strategies will help you create valuable sessions that students will attend with enthusiasm:

  • Promote the meetings through email, text messages, posters, announcements, and Twitter.

  • Alert head coaches about the times and content to be covered so they can remind and encourage their leaders to attend.

  • Secure a room that will allow for movement. Using a traditional classroom will not allow a group to do an activity. Conducting a “sit and get” program is a sure way to decrease future attendance.

  • Start as close to “on time” as possible. If meetings consistently start ten minutes late, you are training your audience to show up late.

  • Play music when the students walk into the meeting. Ask one of your sharpest leaders to create a playlist of 5 to 7 songs that are “appropriate” for the group. Connect an MP3 player to a set of speakers or portable P. A. system. This will set the tone for the meeting. Perhaps find a song that may be the theme for the meeting.

  • Reward on-time attendance. Outside the meeting room, set up a table with two sets of three 3 x 5 index cards that are two different colors. Kids who show up early or on time will write their name on both cards. When the meeting starts, gather the “on-time-cards” from the table and put them in a box. After the meeting starts, kids who show up late write their name on one card only. Ten minutes after the meeting starts, add the attendance cards to the box with the “on-time” cards. Use the cards in the box at the end of the meeting for a prize drawing. The cards serve a dual purpose. First, they reward kids who arrive early or on time—their name will be in the box twice. Second, the attendance cards can be used to keep track of who shows up consistently for the meetings. It may be wise to tell the athletes that a list of all attendees will be emailed to the head coaches. This provides some positive pressure to show up. It doesn’t look very good if the captains miss the meetings.

  • It’s always a benefit to provide food. Teenagers are always hungry; therefore, you may want to provide a light snack. An athletic director in Maryland told me that he used to set out donuts and juice, but now provides a healthy snack with mixed nuts, almonds, fruit, and granola bars along with water. He said at first the kids protested the change. Then, after discussing sports nutrition, the kids welcomed the healthier alternative. As he put it, “We can’t expect to perform well as athletes when we are eating donuts and a soda for breakfast.”

  • Wrap up on time and with a drawing. It’s important to wrap up the meeting as close to the ending time as possible, especially if the meeting is before school. At the end of the meeting, draw names for prizes. The kids who were early will have twice the opportunity to win something because both of their cards are in the drawing.

  • Secure prizes that are relatively nice rather than trinkets that may be thrown away. Consider school merchandise, two adult passes for an athletic contest, $5 at the concession stand, a gift certificate at a local restaurant, or a $5 iTunes gift card. Purchase your prizes in advance so you are not racing around five minutes before the meeting.

  • Several resources are available to help you create meaningful leadership training sessions. Athletic Directors nationwide are using and as their main platform to prepare and train their leaders and captains. Each site has both membership opportunities and free resources for team leaders.
    There is no perfect system or time to start a training program. A wise mentor of mine once said, “Don’t wait until the perfect time to get something started, because there is no such thing. Get started and adjust along the way.”

    So, just get your program started and adjust along the way. This fall may be the time to get the ball rolling and start a leadership council. The effort to prepare and train your team leaders and captains will pay huge dividends in your athletic programs.

    Craig Hillier has been speaking to students about leadership since 1990. Craig has spoken to more than two million students in 30 states. He has written two books, "How to Step UP as a Leader" and "Playing Beyond the Scoreboard", a team captain’s guide to a season of significance. In 2009, was created as a resource for team leaders and team captains. In August of 2011, was launched. The website features an online course filled with videos, articles, interviews and checklists for team leaders and captains. Contact Craig at 800-446-3343 or via email at

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