We boldly, unapologetically and repeatedly state that interscholastic athletics are different than sports programs on any other level by any other sponsor – different because these programs are school-sponsored and, to an extent like no other, student-centered. But what does that really mean?
The easier to describe – school-sponsored – means that interscholastic athletics are conducted by schools themselves. They are administered under the auspices of boards of education, with responsibilities delegated to administrators, and then to coaches, who are closely supervised by those administrators under the broad policies and procedures approved by their local boards of education.
The more difficult to describe – student-centered – means that our orientation starts with students. We think first about how many we can include, not how many we exclude. We adopt rules not to be elite but to enhance the experience for students, knowing that the higher the standards we establish for eligibility and conduct, the greater the benefit to the students, their schools and the surrounding community.
In a student-centered program, thought is given not only to the students who want exceptions to rules, but also to the other students who would be displaced if those exceptions were made.
In a student-centered program, we consider the whole child and all the children.