Archive for March, 2016

The changing faces of coaching

March 28, 2016
Rhonda Rompola

Photo Courtesy: Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News

 

Veteran SMU women’s basketball coach Rhonda Rompola recently announced that she’ll be retiring after the season, ending her 25-year tenure as the Mustangs’ head coach. It’s been a successful career for Rompola, with seven NCAA tournament berths and a career record above .500.

Now normally, news about a coach retiring wouldn’t spread much past the sports pages and fan websites. But Coach Rompola didn’t hesitate to say why she’s retiring and THAT’s what making news far beyond campus. It’s not because she’s tired of the sport: She’s tired of the players.

“Kids are not as coachable as they were years ago,” she told the Associated Press. “I see kids sometimes talking back to their coaches and it’s like a way of life. I’m just being honest. The rules and everything they get, they haven’t taken time to appreciate. I was happy to have a scholarship. Kids nowadays are more concerned about when their next cost-of-attendance check is. It’s just a different world.”

As you may recall, this academic year is the first in which NCAA student-athletes can receive cost-of-attendance payments in addition to their athletic scholarships. The extra money is for incidentals, such as travel home, school supplies, laundry, etc. The amount given to each student-athlete varies by school, anywhere from $1,000 to more than $6,000 per academic year.

According to CBSSports, SMU student-athletes receive $2,676 per year, on average.

Coach Rompola apparently is not a fan of cost-of-attendance, going on to tell the AP: “Kids are making decisions these days to go to a college based on what their cost-of-attendance check is, based on the meals they get, not based on academics, not based on what a great school it is.”

“Maybe I’m old school. It’s not necessarily what I signed up for and I’m not going to adjust my coaching to the way kids are these days. That’s how it is these days, coaches having to adjust to kids, rather than kids having to adjust to coaches.”

Many youth coaches across the country probably nodded their heads in agreement after reading those words. Whether it’s youth sports or high school and college athletics, more now is being done to meet the needs of the student-athlete. Most of it is good, and overall the cost-of-attendance payments have been received well. But there’s a fine line between helping players and coddling players. Youth coaches have to balance that line all the time, and some, like Coach Rompola, are tired of the high-wire act.

Credit goes to the coaches who can stick it out, encourage and teach our young athletes, and get them ready for the next level, whether it’s in sports or not. Next time you’re at your kids’ games, thank their coaches. Their job gets more difficult every day.

Is Your Organization Covered—for Anything?

March 21, 2016

The idea of crisis plans for your team, event or venue is to try to think of anything and everything that can happen, and make sure you have a correct response to every scenario you can come up with. auction-gavel-2

But too often, no one takes into consideration 1) demanding parents and 2) litigation at the drop of a gavel.

When his 16-year-old son didn’t get the most valuable player award, Michel Croteau didn’t get mad, he tried to get even. He hired a lawyer and sued his son’s youth hockey league to the tune of more than $200,000. Croteau claimed his son Steve should have been the MVP since he had the most goals and assists in the league. When he didn’t win, daddy claimed that Steve was so embarrassed, he wanted to quit hockey.

This isn’t an isolated case. In the year the Croteau lawsuit was filed, 2013, parents filed more than 200 non-injury-related sports lawsuits against coaches, leagues and school districts in the United States, according to Gil Fried, a University of New Haven professor specializing in sports law.

But wait, there’s more.

The Butzke family sued the Comsewogue, N.Y., school district because their eighth-grade daughter was taken off the varsity high school soccer team.

The Branco family took legal action against the Washington Township, N.J., school district after their son, David, was cut from the junior varsity basketball team.

The Rubin family sued California’s New Haven Unified School District for $1.5 million because their son got kicked off the varsity basketball team.

Marc Martinez sued his son’s baseball coach, John Emme, twice, and both times the suit was thrown out. It all surrounded the fact that Emme removed J.D. Martinez from the varsity roster, and dad claimed Emme did it for spite since Martinez the elder had complained to the school district that Emme was having his son throw too much. Coach Emme then countersued Martinez, a move Emme’s lawyer said was as much about Martinez as it was to send a message to parents around the country.

Most everyone has insurance to cover injury, weather, and other fairly predictable problems. Litigation is a growing issue, though, for many sports organizations, especially youth sports. Make sure you have a plan (and an attorney) in place that can help you out, in case there’s a case brought against you.

New NASC blog platform

March 14, 2016

We are excited to announce that the NASC blog, Get in the Game, rolled out onto a new platform in February.  The blog is now housed within the NASC website, www.SportsCommissions.org. The Association will be providing even more timely and relevant content than ever before, including posts on industry trends and news, updates from the National Office, and bi-weekly Tips from the Mentoring Committee.  Blog posts are also featured in Get in the Game eNews, which is distributed each Thursday. We encourage you to subscribe to the blog to receive instant notifications when a new post is published.  Ideas for blog posts are always encouraged.

If you are interested in writing a blog or want to see a particular topic included in a future post, submit your idea to Elizabeth You, Director of Membership and Marketing at elizabeth@sportscommissions.org

A Lesson to Be Learned

March 14, 2016

A while back we told you about the fight at a girls’ high school basketball game in Indiana that resulted in the suspension of both teams from the rest of this season.

Pike High meeting

Photo Courtesy: Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star.

Now, as Paul Harvey might say, here is the rest of the story.

After both the Pike and Ben Davis girls’ basketball teams were suspended after the on-court brawl, most everyone thought that would be the end of the issue. But Anucha Browne saw it as an opportunity for a life lesson for everyone involved.

Browne is NCAA vice president for women’s basketball championships. And she comes in with a hoops pedigree: She starred at Northwestern and led the country in scoring in 1985 with a 30.5 points per game average. And she decided she needed to talk with these players.

“I thought it was important to be in their space and help them understand that those split-second decisions can change the rest of their lives,” she told the Indianapolis Star. “I took pride in owning the fact that those young people deserve another chance and to have a dialogue with somebody who has been where they are. I want to be impactful in their lives.”

Browne met with the Pike team last week—she’s scheduled to meet with Ben Davis next week. Neither high school appealed the suspensions, although Pike did ask the Indiana High School Athletic Association to reevaluate its process in ruling on fighting at games.

“These are just young people, and you have to invest in young people,” Browne continued. “We tell our kids to be sportsmen, but what does that mean? I think to have that dialogue and talk to them about the impact of their behavior and what they do is important. It says everything about them.”

As for the school, Pike Athletic Director Doug Schornick said the meeting with Browne was another step in the healing process. “I think the message coming from somebody of her background was perfect,” he said. “We’re going to get stronger. All our programs are going to get stronger.”

Kudos to Browne for reaching out to both teams after a devastating end to their seasons. Let’s hope the schools, and especially the players, learn and grow from it.