Late last spring the veteran executive director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, Bill Gaine, spent a half-day at the offices of the Michigan High School Athletic Association to share insights about ways state association staff can serve the mission of educational athletics. Here are some of my notes from that experience:
“Steal and build.” At the MIAA, the approach has been to steal the good ideas of others and build upon those ideas.
“Marry student life with academic life.” The MIAA leadership tries to make an intentional, purposeful connection between the after-school and school programs of MIAA schools.
“Connect rhetoric with policies and programs. You can’t have just policies or only programs; you must have both.”
Over 18 years, five pillars of policy and programs have evolved for the MIAA: Health and Wellness in 1984, Sportsmanship in 1993, Coaches Education in 1998, Student Leadership in 2001, and Community Service in 2002. All constituents get the whole package all the time, according to Gaine; and there is an MIAA staff person in charge of each pillar.
The “5 Pillars” is the curriculum the MIAA teaches athletic directors, with specific lesson plans. Gaine says, “The AD is the school’s curriculum coordinator for educational athletics.”