Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category

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.

The Sad Side of Sports

February 22, 2016

A high school girls’ basketball game this past weekend between Pike and Ben Davis high schools, two Indianapolis-area schools, had to be called with five minutes left in the fourth quarter because of a fight that apparently involved both fans and players.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers

Photo courtesy of teamfenon.com

Video posted on social media showed both players and fans on the court, although officials are not saying right now what may have started the incident.

At the time of the scuffle at Ben Davis’ gym, Pike was leading the game by a wide margin. Officials from both schools are scheduled to meet with the Indiana High School Athletic Association later this week.

In a statement, Ben Davis’ administration said, “We are extremely disappointed that good sportsmanship was not shown by the players involved in (today’s) girls basketball game at Ben Davis High School We are working closely with administrators at Pike High School and the IHSAA to determine exactly which players were involved in this incident.”

The statement continues: “This behavior is not representative of our values, beliefs or how we coach our student athletes. It is not reflective of the Ben Davis pride of our students, alumni and community share. And it certainly does not reflect the rich tradition and success of our girls basketball team. The Ben Davis players involved will face consequences at school, and we will comply with any consequences we receive from the IHSAA.”

For its part, the Pike athletic department Twitter feed posted this message: “Today’s girls’ BB incident was unfortunate! We are working with BD & IHSAA to investigate today’s occurrence.”

Last season the IHSAA hit Griffith and Hammond high schools with sanctions after a fight at a boys game, suspending both teams for the year. Eventually both schools got a temporary restraining order so they could play in the post-season tournament, and Griffith make it to the 3A championship game.

This investigation probably will go on for weeks, with sanctions expected on both sides. But when young players, girls or boys, see the behavior that goes on at some professional games, is it any wonder that scuffles break out? It makes it even more imperative for youth coaches to have proper training to make sure that nothing like this happens at their events.

Tips for the RFP Process

February 9, 2016

Responding to an RFP can be a daunting task, especially in the sports market.  Yet, tackling an RFP piece-by-piece can make the process easier and, hopefully, yield lucrative results.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that the requirements are a good fit for your destination. Read the RFP thoroughly to see if you have the items needed to place a bid.  The bare bones necessary are the venues, hotel space, volunteer availability, expertise of a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and a plan to deal with bid fees.  If you have any questions, pick up the phone and call the planner.  A phone call will go a long way, and allows you to find out what the hot button issues are. In some cases, what you might think is important actually may be unimportant for the planner.  Always ask the question. For example, if a bid specifies that your fields need to have lights but yours don’t, ask the planner if lack of lights is a deal breaker.  Another example might be that a client prefers Hilton properties, but the bulk of your rooms are with Marriott. If this happens, let the client know, and check to see if this will be an issue for the bid.

One of the most important steps in this process is to check the history of the event you are bidding on.  The best way to do this is to talk to the CVBs or Sports Commissions in cities that have hosted the event in the past.  Ask them about venues used, hotel pickup and if there were any challenges with the event operator.  Make sure to find out if they had any overall problems with the event.  This information is very valuable, and will help you in the RFP process.  It is important to also check the geographical history of the event – has the event ever occurred in your region? Some events are a better fit to certain areas of the country- what works in the South might not work as well in the North. It’s fine to let a client know that you have researched their event.  It shows that you are thorough and helps keep them transparent and communicative.

Many destinations cannot afford – or simply won’t pay – bid fees. Many times, a bid fee can be circumvented by offering concessions instead.  A list of concessions is usually provided along with the bid fee. These can include complimentary hotel rooms, airline tickets, rental cars etc.   Only the sales person and the destination marketing or sports organization can determine if you can address their concessions.  Perhaps you can form a partnership with a local rental car agency to get a reduced weekly rate in exchange for agency being listed as the sponsor. Airlines can be a bit challenging, however contact your local hub, they may be willing to work with you. Utilize relationships with the hotels in the area to obtain comp rooms for the proposal.  Some events will require two or more hotels to fill the comps. Always make sure the comp policy is consistent across hotels listed in the proposal.

Once you have collected all of the information required for the bid, prepare to submit the proposal. If you have not been able to meet all the concessions, it is still okay to submit. Several things can happen at this point. One response may be, that, although the concessions were not completely met, the facilities may be a better fit for the event. Another response could be a flat out no, however the organizer now is aware what you are able to do and may come back for future events.

It is important to ask for decision dates as a part of the proposal submission. If it is not specifically addressed in the RFP, make sure to ask. This allows organizations to hold space at facilities until decision time. Some facilities will place the space on “hold” for a certain number of days and give the event planner the “right of refusal” for the dates. In that case the organization on “hold” will have to go to contract and send a deposit for the space. Some organizations will request a site visit as a part of the decision process. With years of experience, it is safe to say a site visit should typically last two days to include venue and hotel options.

John Gibbons, CSEE
Executive Director of the RI Sports Commission
JGibbons@GoSportsRI.ocm

Ron Eifert, CSEE
Senior Sales Manager
Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau
reifert@daytoncvb.net

How to Successfully Prospect

January 26, 2016

Sporting events represent an opportunity to showcase and to make a significant economic impact on your community.  Where should you start in the process of securing events and meetings?

Strengths:

To be effective with your time, you need is to evaluate what events could work in your area, especially the resources that you have available for your use.  These resources are primarily facilities and people.

  • What types of facilities do you have available to host events? Don’t limit your vision to “major” complexes.  There are a variety of options that may work including city facilities, parks, colleges, public and private schools, open spaces, hotels and even your roads.
  • Who in your community has interest, expertise and understanding of sports? Do they have relationships with event planners and will they be an advocate for you?  Who has access to recruiting volunteers who are knowledgeable with sport? Who will help collaborate to bring events to your community and to insure that they are successful?

Opportunities:

The variety and number of available meetings and events is extensive.  There are events that will work for all regions and others that you should not pursue.  There is no reason to spend any resources on pursuing a downhill skiing event if you live in Florida.  Some other topics for event marketers to explore include:

  • What types of events could work in your community?
    • Which events have a significant fan and participant base in your area?
    • What sports have an interest in growing or breaking into your area?
    • What events work in your facilities? What events have similar elements to those events?
    • What events are the facility managers interested in pursuing?
  • Look at what similar towns/cities in your area and in the country are doing. What is your competition hosting?
  • When are there “holes” in your City’s calendar, where bringing in events would make the biggest economic impact? If you live in a beach community, perhaps a winter event would have more impact than a July event when your community is already busy.

Resources / History:

There is no need to reinvent the wheel.  As a member of the National Association of Sports Commissions, you have access to research, meetings and events that are available for bid and access to other NASC members.  Utilize these resources.

Part of the vetting process is to research the history of the events and event organizers.  Are the elements in their RFP realistic? Is bidding on this event and making an investment in time, and potentially money, going to have a return on your investment?  Does history confirm their claims of room nights and economic impact?  Do they pay their bills?  Use the internet as a tool and call the CVBs / Sports Commissions that have hosted these events in the past.

Many RFPs are a starting point in the bid / negotiation process.  Many event planners will ask for everything and the kitchen sink up front.  After vetting the event and deciding that it is something that you want to pursue, even if you can’t match all of the bid elements, feel free to counter offer and make your pitch on why the event would be successful in your community.

Bidding:

Make sure that the event makes sense for your community.  It may be okay to take a loss on an event if it helps you gain exposure, grow your event portfolio or lead to other events.  Take a long range view of event procurement.

Let the event planner know the strengths of your community including who will be involved in the bid and execution of the event if you win it.   Why should the event come to your community?  Can you draw spectators and participants?  What is your experience in the sport?  Can your community provide expertise, volunteers, financial backing?  Is there a legacy if the event does come?

Conclusion:

There are sporting events and meetings that will work for all communities.  Start by looking at your strengths and then match these with the available opportunities.

Bob Murdock
Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau
860-882-1103
robertm@ctcsb.org

Instructions for Registering for CSEE Online Course

January 21, 2016

Registration for our very first online CSEE course, Strategic Planning for Successful Sport Tourism, will open on Monday, January 18. This course is Core Course 1 as outlined in the CSEE Program Redesign document and is the first of three mandatory courses required for certification for those who enroll in CSEE from this point forward.  The course is open to ALL members enrolled in CSEE.

Registration will remain open until Noon ET on Friday, February 5.

To register, go to your My Account Members section of the NASC web site.

Click on Register for Events.

Click on Online CSEE Course(s).

All new students registering for a CSEE course for the first time will be provided with a copy of the NASC Whitepaper “Report on the Sport Tourism Industry.” This paper must be completed to get full benefit of the first course taken.

An orientation session will be required before taking your first course. After the close of registration each participant will be provided with a student ID and instructions on how to access Ohio University’s web site. It will take 10 days to process the student list and assign these numbers.

On February 15 the Orientation Course will open. It will lead you through what you need to know about using Blackboard, the online system that will be used for every course.

Each registered student will have seven days in which to log on, take the orientation course and be ready for the opening of our first core course on February 22.

This course will remain open until Friday, April 1. It will close at that time and all students will need to complete the course by then or lose credit and the course registration fee.

Timeline:

January 18 – Registration for Core Course 1 opens

February 5 – Registration closes

February 15 – Orientation course opens

February 22 – Orientation closes and Core Course 1 Opens

April 1 – Core Course 1 Closes. All students must complete course work by that time

Contact
Direct any questions to Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director at Don@SportsCommissions.org.

2016 NASC Sports Marketplace Appointment Process

January 12, 2016

As reported in the September edition of the NASC Playbook, the Symposium Committee, based on member feedback, has created a new framework for the 2016 NASC Sports Marketplace. In this edition of the “Tips from the Mentoring Committee”, we offer the following thoughts on improvements to the appointment process and how all members can benefit from hitting the reset button on what to expect from the NASC Sports Marketplace in Grand Rapids.

Individual Appointments

Think “New Relationship NASC Sports Marketplace”

From its inception in San Antonio, TX in 1997, the purpose of the NASC Sports Marketplace has been to provide opportunities for NEW BUSINESS development for our members.

Individual appointments, which are 10 minutes each, offer destinations and vendor exhibitors the opportunity to share information about their community and/or products/services with event owners.  Ideally, individual appointments should be requested by organizations that are not currently doing business with one another.  Anyone who has attended the NASC Symposium knows the schedule includes ample time for current business partners to conduct meetings and network with each other.

For the first time, participating members will have an extended window to request, accept/decline, and prioritize individual appointments. The online appointment portal will open the first week of January and remain open until February 26, 2016.

Why the extended time?  Eight weeks gives everyone time to properly evaluate and research the organizations with whom they are requesting an appointment and organizations requesting an appointment of them.  The goal is to eliminate individual appointments taking place between a destination and/or vendor and event owner where there is clearly no opportunity to do business. For example, if a destination doesn’t have facilities required to host a particular sport and/or event, then the destination should not be requesting an appointment with that event owner.  With time to evaluate and research, these potentially embarrassing situations can and should be avoided.

Event Overview Appointments

Think “Learning & Listening Marketplace”

Event Overview Appointments offer event owners the opportunity to share information about their organization and what it takes to host an event with destinations whom they have not done business.  This is not a time to sell your destination or product/service to the event owner, but rather listen to the event overview and gather information about event requirements, future opportunities, etc. If your organization qualifies to host an event or provide a product/service based on what you learn during the appointment, then follow up after the Symposium.

How does this work?  Destinations, vendor exhibitors, and event owners will have the opportunity to request, accept/decline, and prioritize event overview appointments. These appointments will take place at tables in the Sports Marketplace, not at the event owner’s booth.  Up to five (5) destinations and/or vendor exhibitors will be seated at a table with one event owner. The event owner will provide information on what it takes to host their event and may allow a minute or two at the end of the 10-minute appointment for questions.

Key Dates

  • Week of January 4 – Individual Appointment schedule portal opens
  • Midnight PT February 19 – Last day to registered to be guaranteed appointments
  • Midnight PT February 26 – Individual Appointment portal closes
  • Week of March 14 – Individual Appointment schedules released and Event Overview Appointment portal opens
  • Midnight PT March 18 – Event Overview Appointment portal closes
  • Week of March 28 – Event Overview Appointment schedules released

It is important to note, registration fees must be paid in full before the first attendee from your organization can view the online appointment portal.

Direct any questions about the appointment process to your member services coordinator.

Active Members:

Meagan McCalla, Meagan@SportsCommissions.org or 513.842.8307.

Allied and Rights Holder Members:

Allison Deak, Allison@SportsCommissions.org or 513.250.4366.

Yours in sport,

John David, CSEE
USA BMX
NASC Mentoring Committee Co-Chair
John@USABMX.com

Mike Price, CSEE
Greater Lansing Sports Authority
NASC Mentoring Committee Co-Chair
mprice@lansing.org

 

Changes ahead for youth football?

January 11, 2016

The new year could be bringing a new look to youth football around the country. Case in point: Somerville, Massachusetts, has announced its recreation department is changing the city’s youth football program from tackle to “non-contact” flag football for kids in first through eighth grade.

youth-football.jpg

Photo courtesy Grand Forks Park District

In an article published by boston.com, city officials cited concerns nationwide over increases in injuries for young players in contact football, as well as declining enrollment in the city’s contact program. The changes were announced this past week, to go into effect this summer.

“Particularly over the past few years, the rise in injuries among young people playing contact football, both in game situations and during regular practices, demonstrates a need for us to reevaluate the programs we offer to our youngest residents,” Jill Lathan, the city’s director of Recreation and Youth, said. “Somerville Recreation has a history of providing programs and opportunities for youth of all ages and interest levels, but we also have a commitment to keep our children safe while they have fun.”

Lathan also said the recreation department will continue to support those who want to continue to play in a contact football program, like Pop Warner, through its equipment rental program, but the city will not sponsor a tackle football program for young players.

“Interest and participation in flag football is increasing both in Somerville and nationwide, and we are excited to be able to offer the program here in Somerville that will teach youth the necessary skills if they do choose to participate in contact football at an older age,” Lathan said.

The city seems to be following recommendations made by Dr. Bennet Omalu, famously portrayed by Will Smith in the new movie, “Concussion,” who said in an op-ed piece in the New York Times last month that there should be a minimum age to play tackle football because children’s developing brains should be protected from concussions. While few believe that the minimum age will be set at 18, as Dr. Omalu suggests, this move by Somerville shows that municipalities are taking the threat of brain injuries seriously and are taking steps to try to keep players safer.

Adaptive Athletes: Scott Stever

December 28, 2015

This spring the NASC Symposium will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. One of the leading rehabilitation centers in the Midwest, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, also has one of the leading adaptive sports programs. In the months leading up to the Symposium, we’ll feature one adaptive athlete each month. This month it’s Scott Stever.

First, a little bit of background: How old are you and how did you and your family find out about Mary Free Bed?

I’m 16, I live in Grand Rapids Michigan, and was introduced to MFB with physical therapy at age 2.

How did you get involved in the adaptive sports program at Mary Free Bed?

I attended the Wheelchair Sports Camp at Grand Valley State University when I was 9, and there I was introduced to Sled Hockey. I have been playing since then, and am now in my eighth season. I am also involved with tennis in the summer to stay in shape during the off-season for hockey.scott hockey

Were you always active in sports? What challenge, if any, was there to learn new sports and new ways to play them?

I had never played sports before sled hockey and tennis, mostly because it was tough to get involved in regular sports with my disability.

What’s the best part of being involved in these adaptive sports?

I love being able to get to play the sport I love and the physical nature of sled hockey. I use sports as an outlet to let my competitive nature shine through, and also the family nature that comes with being part of a team. Tennis allows me to build physical endurance for hockey, and it is great to get out and do something fun in the summer

If you were asked to give a recommendation about the adaptive sports programs, what would you tell people?

I would tell them to just try a sport you think you may like, and if you have a sport that you love to watch, I would recommend that first.

Off-season planning for the 2016 NASC Sports Event Symposium

December 15, 2015

It’s the season of lists. Holiday shopping, wish lists, parties, and making sure you end up on the “nice” list. In the spirit of lists, here’s your NASC 2016 Sports Event Symposium “TO DO” list. Right now is the best time to do your off-season prep, get organized, take care of the logistics, and position yourself to rock it in the new year. Grand Rapids, here we come.

(1) Get registered! You have to be there April 3-7, 2016 to take advantage of this direct selling, education, networking opportunity. It only takes a few clicks. Don’t forget the add-ons and let NASC know if this is your first Symposium. See? Easy.

(2) Make your hotel reservation. You have two choices in Grand Rapids, The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel or the JW Marriott Grand Rapids. You can’t go wrong with either property. Both have plenty of amenities and are convenient to the action at DeVos Place Convention Center. (Room blocks will sell out, so don’t delay on this one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

(3) Book your flight/make travels plans. Local airport is GRR with plenty of lift — 6 airlines and 22 major market direct flights. Or, if you feel the need to road trip, Grand Rapids is easy to get to. Our NASC staff made the trek via car last summer from Cincinnati in under six hours with no speeding tickets (I think).

(4) Update your member profile. This is a good idea any time of the year, but especially when your potential partners are looking for you in prep for the Symposium. Logon to the NASC website and search for yourself in the member directory.  Make sure your POC is current and your message is relevant to your goals for your meetings this spring. It’s the NASC version of Googling yourself.

(5) Ok, now for additional cool stuff. The NASC Member Awards program is great way to recognize those in our industry that deserve our praise. Learn more here.

There are also opportunities to do good work and leave a mark on the local community while in Grand Rapids. Watch for details on the Sports Legacy Fund Community Service Project and get involved by joining your fellow colleagues at a local park clean up. We’d love to see everyone ready with sleeves rolled up. Don’t fret about the weather, no one froze last year! The Sports Legacy Fund silent auction and raffle will benefit the Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Wheelchair Tennis Program. This organization assists hundreds of children and adults participate in a variety of organized team sports. Details on donating can be found here. Please, please bring your raffle ticket CA$H and your credit card with the highest limit.

(6) Get your clients to Grand Rapids. Are your current partners NASC members? Wouldn’t it be awesome to see them at the Symposium?  Why not personally invite them to join the association and meet you there. If you need membership info or would like a member of the Membership Committee to contact them, just say the word.

There you have it. Include this list with all the others. Check these items off now to be ready when the Symposium season arrives. See you in Grand Rapids. Ready…..Go!

Janna Clark, CSEE
Elizabethtown Sports Park
NASC Board of Directors
NASC Mentoring Committee

Put sports on your giving list

December 14, 2015

As you’re doing your holiday shopping this season, you can’t help but notice a plethora of requests for donations. Besides the Red Kettle on the corner, you’ll often see on your credit card checkout pad a request to add a dollar for a number of good causes, from homeless pets to meals for the hungry.

youth lacrosse

Photo courtesy of Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

While you’re considering year-end gifts, don’t forget about some of the non-profit sports organizations in your own back yard. Whether it’s a local youth baseball team, or even the sports commission or sports corporation that may help you as a rights holder or event manager put on events, all would appreciate a donation at this time of year.

And what will that donation mean? Well, it can help continue a youth basketball program whose gym rental fee went up this year; it can help an inner-city Pop Warner football team buy new gear, including safer helmets and pads; and it can help a sports corporation pay the filing fees for new events that it wants to bring to your area.

Big or small, any gift is appreciated by these groups. And the best part of it is, you can see how that gift pays off with more sporting events and more people participating in sports. According to the U.S. Department of Education, student-athletes in the lower grades are four times more likely to attend college than their counterparts who do not play. And Up2Us Sports says student-athletes have an 11% higher graduation rate than non-athletes.

All in all, sports is a good investment, no matter what time of year it is. Putting your favorite sports non-profit on your year-end giving list helps invest in the future of sports.