posted on May 23, 2014 03:36
Several years ago we assembled a group of ice hockey facility managers and a large number of athletic directors and ice hockey coaches at MHSAA member schools to discuss rules related to the coaching and administration of out-of-season ice hockey programs.
Early in the four-hour meeting the group focused on the activities that MHSAA rules prohibited. But when one of the athletic directors said, “Let’s focus for a while on what the rules permit, not on what they prohibit” – and a diverse list of allowable activities grew longer and longer – the mood of the meeting changed.
“When you see how much interaction is already allowed,” someone said, “you wonder why there needs to be more.”
That is certain to be the attitude of some whom we will assemble once again to talk about out-of-season administration and coaching of school sports. However, just as certain is that there will be meeting participants who believe that, liberal as they may be viewed by others, existing rules still tend to drive student-athletes to unsavory non-school coaches who fill the void of coaching outside the moment the school season ends.
“When limits are imposed on school coaches outside the school season,” they say, “then the interests of non-school coaches move in. It would be far better for students and do far more to promote the future of school sports,” they say, “if school coaches could work without limits with their student-athletes year-round.”
Somewhere between these opposing sentiments is the sweet spot we are seeking.