Posts Tagged ‘Sports’

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.

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.

A Win Comes with a Price

February 29, 2016

 

Score

Photo courtesy of Troy Machir, Sporting News.

 

The coach of a California high school girls’ basketball team was suspended two games for a big win.

And we mean, big.

Arroyo Valley High School defeated Bloomington High School, 161-2 last month. And it’s not first time Arroyo Valley had won by large margins. The Hawks had scored more than 100 points twice before, but this 159-point win created enough backlash that the school felt it needed to act and suspended Coach Michael Anderson for the two games.

Not that benching the coach made much of a difference. In the first game without Coach Anderson, Arroyo Valley won, 80-19. The Hawks were coached by Anderson’s 19-year-old son.

For his part, Anderson said he talked with the Bloomington head coach before the game, explaining that this was the Hawks’ last game before league play and that his team was going to play hard. “I wanted to let him know there was no harm intended,” Anderson told the Orange County Register, “and that if he had any ideas or concerns just to let me know.”

Anderson benched his starters at halftime and told his players in the second half to run the shot clock down before trying to score, but it still ended up as a beyond-lopsided final score. And Bloomington’s head coach, Dale Chung, told the San Bernardino County Sun he wasn’t happy with the outcome. “People shouldn’t feel sorry for my team,” he said. “They should feel sorry for his team, which isn’t learning the game the right way.”

A few times a year, we read about this kind of a game—is it the coach’s fault for running up the score or is it the opposing team’s fault for not putting up more of a fight? In several high school sports, football and basketball included, many state associations allow a running clock if the score is lopsided—in California, a running clock isn’t allowed until the fourth quarter.

There’s a fine line between sportsmanship and letting players play. The reserves want to show their skills and often take the opportunity in ‘garbage time’ to do just that, at the expense of an undermanned opponent. The talent level is so inconsistent in youth sports, including high school girls’ basketball, that blowouts do happen. A two-game suspension probably won’t stop Arroyo Valley from winning by 100+ points again this season. The lesson for the players may be, how those games are won.

Breaking Barriers through Adaptive Sports

February 23, 2016

Editor’s Note: Leading up to the NASC Symposium this spring, the NASC is highlighting adaptive sports athletes. The proceeds raised for the 2016 NASC Sports Legacy Fund will go toward offsetting expenses for the Mary Free Bed and Adaptive Sports Wheelchair Tennis program, which provides equipment to individuals who are unable to afford their own. Each month we feature one of the adaptive athletes: This month we feature 32-year-old Matt Clements.

Matt Clements.jpg

I got involved in wheelchair tennis after meeting (wheelchair tennis athlete) Curt Bender when I was still at Mary Free Bed after I got hurt. He told me that sometime after I went home that I should come check it out. So after my little over three-month stay at Mary Free Bed and being home for a month I went to check it out just to “watch.” Well Coach Lynn (Bender) and a few other people helped to get me into a tennis chair and after that I never missed a practice probably for three or four years.

Wheelchair tennis is a HUGE reason of how I got back to all of the things I used to do before my injury that so many people told me that I would never be able to do. It also turned my path to recovery and to learn how to do things as a highway to recovery.

I remember Curt telling me one day that I was four or five years farther ahead of him after he had been in a chair for three years. None of that would have been possible without what is now Mary Free Bed sports.

Everyone helps each other out with their issues, problems, and whatever we can do for each other. The tennis team is like a big family and those of us who have been hurt longer do not hesitate to take someone newer to this life under our wing and teach them all of the little tricks and solutions to things that we know. We show them that there is nothing they can’t do.

For example, I still drive my big full-size truck and hook up to my big trailer and load whatever, hop down and get back into my chair, strap it down and be on my way all by myself. People are baffled over how I am able to just pop up into my truck, but I would probably not have been able to do any of this if it hadn’t been for Mary Free Bed sports.

I tell people that it is a great way to be active and have a whole bunch of fun with a bunch of great people. We are like a big family and support group, and you learn so much more than just tennis.

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.

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.

Winning Isn’t Everything..

January 18, 2016

We know that coaches want their teams to win. We also know that parents want to give their student-athlete the best chance to develop his or her skills to be the best players they can be.

Attucks basketball

Photo Courtesy of Indianapolis Star

So it’s interesting to see the cautionary tale being played out this school year at Indianapolis’ Crispus Attucks High School, where the head basketball coach has been reassigned and parents are outraged.

A bit of background: Crispus Attucks is the home of basketball legend Oscar Robertson and, despite falling on recent hard basketball times, has battled back to become relevant again in the sport that Indiana worships. A lot of that has been because of head coach Phil Washington, who was named city coach of the year last season in Indianapolis for leading Attucks to a 19-6 record and the Class 2A regional final. He also brought Attucks its first sectional titles, in 2014 and 2015, since 1973.

It’s obvious Washington wants to win. So it’s not surprising that winning would bring tighter scrutiny from the Indiana High School Athletic Association, which ruled in November, then upheld the ruling last month, that two transfer students playing for Washington were ineligible because the IHSAA said they transferred to Attucks for athletic reasons—which is a no-no.

Here’s the back story: Washington is from Anderson, Indiana, another basketball hotbed. Washington interviewed for the Anderson head coaching job this past spring, but wasn’t a finalist. The mother of one of the transferred players was a big supporter of Washington to get the Anderson job, but when he didn’t, that’s when the two players moved from Anderson to Indianapolis. Mom says that wasn’t why they moved..the IHSAA says differently.

While the players’ case will go before a Department of Education review panel, Washington remains suspended while his Attucks’ team is 9-2 and eighth in the state. Parents have delivered petitions to Attucks’ administrators, claiming his punishment is excessive. In the meantime, Washington has been transferred to another high school as a teacher only, and two student-athletes have their basketball careers hanging in the balance as the grownups try to decide what’s best for them.

Managing Expectations

December 29, 2015

One of the most important aspects of any tradeshow is managing expectations. There’s a reason that destinations and sports event planners see a tradeshow as a helpful marketing tool. Instead of trying to maintain relationships at arm’s length, you have a chance to actually meet the people you do business with and connect with your peers.

Attending your first sports tradeshow, however, can be a bit overwhelming and certainly confusing at times.  Conducting a little research before heading to the NASC Sports Event Symposium will go a long way.

When the online appointment portal opens, the first registered attendee from your organization will be able to view the list of registered organizations with whom you have an opportunity to meet. Doing a little research to find out if your destination or your sports event is a good match will save you a lot of time.  At the tradeshow, the 10-minute appointment will be over before you know it. Having as much information about who you are meeting with will provide you more time to establish key relationships. The more you know before you go will provide you with more confidence during your scheduled appointments.

Now let’s talk giveaways. From my experience, during your appointments, less is more when it comes to swag – especially when most of what you are giving away will end up as trash. Trying to juggle giveaways, take notes, and exchange business cards is a lot to manage. Business cards are typically all you need.  Following up after the show is the best way to continue the dialogue. If you say you will follow up with specific items, make sure you do.

You may come back with a couple of leads and you may come back with only business cards. The most important takeaway from attending the Symposium is the relationships you are beginning to cultivate.

Remember that the goal of any tradeshow marketing experience goes way beyond just making sales and closing deals. Building your brand, promoting your destination, sport, or services, networking with peers and potential new clients, and sizing up competitors in your industry are all part of the tradeshow experience. All of these takeaways should be accurately reflected as tangible goals in your tradeshow marketing efforts.

Cheryl McCullough
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.

The Future of Football

December 8, 2015

Before the Christmas release of the film, “Concussion,” the researcher whose work is the basis for the movie, Bennet Omalu, wrote a New York Times op-ed piece that appeared Monday, in which he says that children under age 18 should not be allowed to play full-contact football.

AFI FEST 2015 Presented By Audi Centerpiece Gala Premiere Of Columbia Pictures' "Concussion" - Arrivals

HOLLYWOOD, CA – NOVEMBER 10: Bennet Omalu attends the Centerpiece Gala Premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Concussion” during AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi at the TCL Chinese Theatre on November 10, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Omalu likens the dangers of football to other known dangers like smoking, asbestos and alcohol, His argument is, we learned of the dangers of each, and now have education and, in some cases, laws in place to protect people from their misuse. We know about the dangers of football, he argues, and it is now time to protect young people from the head trauma that we’ve seen in older players.

Omalu is the first person to link repeated concussions and head trauma to CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition blamed in part for the deaths of a number of high profile NFL players, including Junior Seau and Mike Webster.

In the article, Omalu makes the point “that repetitive blows to the head in high-impact contact sports like football, ice hockey, mixed-martial arts and boxing place athletes at high risk of permanent brain damage. …Why, then, do we continue to intentionally expose our children to this risk?”

In the short term, Omalu’s proposal would change youth football to a non-contact, touch or flag football game. In the long term, though, eliminating youth football as it is played at higher levels would effectively kill the college and professional game in the United States. If youngsters don’t grow up playing the game at it exists now, there’s a slim to none chance they will pick it up when they are “of age.”

In the wake of the New York Times piece, former college and NFL quarterback Danny Kanell tweeted that “the war on football is real.” For youth football organizers, it’s time to look realistically at the dangers and work hard to make the game safer.