IHSAA assistant executive director talks at Mid-Prairie
In front of a sparse crowd of parents and coaches, Assistant Executive Director Todd Tharp with the Iowa High School Athletic Association discussed rules and regulations at Mid-Prairie High School, Thursday, Aug. 15.
Tharp closed the lecture by stressing the importance for preparing kids for college and life beyond sports.
The athletic budget for Mid-Prairie totals $75,000. This includes the athletic director’s, which is $23,200. Football receives the highest spending of $6,000, boys’ and girls’ golf were the lowest at $1,250 each. Volleyball, wrestling, girl and boys’ basketball all have the second highest team budget of $3,800.
Social media continues to creep into team sports. This further tinkers on the borderline of inappropriate use.
“Cool, awesome, but we have to be careful,” Tharp said.
Tharp said coaches need to communicate with players what is unacceptable. Examples beyond nudity include pictures in the locker room, offensive photos of kids falling asleep or eating.
Coaches can send group texts about practice or time changes, but shouldn’t text players individually.
“It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.”
Tharp reminds coaches. Post what you want the world to see on electronic social media.
Coaches can lay down boundaries for social media by including the policy in the student conduct handbook.
Profane and sexually explicit language and comments to bully someone are prohibited. Players are allowed to come out and say they hate a coach. Nothing can be done to stop this freedom of speech under the First Amendment.
Players must take at least four academic courses at all times. If a student is failing one subject at the end of final grading period, he or she will be ineligible for the next 30 calendar days.
The topic of concussions is a reoccurring subject in sports. This offseason all coaches went through a rigorous course on head injuries.
Eligibility for sports depends on if the athlete is less than 20 years old, participates in less than nine consecutive semesters, has had no participation with a college team and has not competed professionally.
Transfers must sit out for a period of 90 consecutive school days.
Failing scores in eighth grade do not affect eligibility for freshman.
IHSAA states that if a student-athlete chooses to return to a school he or she left, he or she has immediate eligibility if it is within 30 school days.
The policy on in-season non-school participation is up to the school’s policy. Typically, a lack of policy means AAU or any other select participation is OK.
Use of school equipment for an individual or team camp use must be rented. The price of kneepads, shoulder pads and a helmet runs close to $500.
A teacher or coach can hold open gym anytime, but no instructing will be done.
Newspapers are permitted to hand out unframed, unmounted, paper certificates to players. No cash or gift cards may be accepted.
Junior high players are permitted to scrimmage with seniors; however, sixth-graders may not compete with seventh- and eighth- graders.
Tharp finished with enlightening questions for coaches. Why coach, why coach the way I do, how do others feel about me and what is success?
The coaches stood in the front of the room at the beginning of the discussion, and read off 26 expectations for coaches and sponsors.
“Academics are the No. 1 priority” was reinforced. Student-athletes are to be supervised at all times including in the weight room.
Students are not permitted to drive school vehicles. The maximum number of people in a school van is eight. Athletes will not be allowed to play in games unless they ride in school-permitted transportation.
Practices on Wednesday are supposed to end by 6 p.m. Sunday practices are off limits unless there is a circumstance like a state playoff game on Monday.
When school is closed due to inclement weather, all practices and activities are canceled including weight lifting.
Coaches are required to submit articles to local media weekly during the season. The more student athletes are built up, the more positive press. Social media is permitted, but coaches need to proceed with caution; they are public figures.