On February 18, forty-two of our middle and high school coaches convened at the Civic Center for the first component of a far-reaching professional development initiative: Fundamentals of Coaching (National Federation of High Schools).
The session was led by Mark Dreibelbis of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. He amplified the position that the mission of interscholastic athletics is to promote learning at all costs.
This session was timely in light of this week’s news headlines referenced below.
From the Herald Sun:
CHAPEL HILL — 12 students were busted for a cheating scandal that encompasses two years, a school master key, and cell phone technology.
The principal believes the students exercised poor judgment and that they were doing this more for tradition rather than to get ahead.
From the Charlotte Observer:
CHARLOTTE — “Residency rules on athletic eligibility are in place to make sure all schools fairly compete. Coaches, parents, students and boosters who try to gain an advantage by putting on their teams talented players who don’t live in the school zone are cheating. Worse, the adults involved are setting a bad example for the students. Such actions say to young people that winning on the athletic field and in life trumps everything — even honesty and integrity.”
West Charlotte High School got caught helping students fudge residency requirements for athletic purposes. As a result, they had to forfeit 13 games, refund $16,000 to fans for playoff gate, pay a $250 fine, spend next season on probation, suspend one student from athletic eligibility for a year, and get rid of at least two football coaches.
The toughest thing about keeping our eyes on “learning at at costs” is the prevailing mindset to win at all costs.