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The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) endorse the position of Director of Athletics as an integral part of the administrative team of a high school. The position is essential to the coordination and implementation of a wholesome athletic program. Many aspects of today’s high school sports program - such as the litigation climate, staffing problems, budgetary concerns, sports medicine implications, Title IX, first-aid/CPR certification, sportsmanship, and non-teaching coaches- require sound leadership which can only be provided by a competent athletic administrator.

The magnitude and scope of the duties and responsibilities of an athletic director dictate that only qualified individuals should be assigned this important responsibility and that adequate release time and supportive help be provided to fulfill the expectations of the position.

In recent years the athletic administrator position has grown tremendously and responsibilities have increased considerably. Below is a list of recent changes which have had a profound impact on the athletic administrators position.

 State Department of Education Mandated Coaching Permits – Proper paperwork must be maintained and submitted to the SDE for licensing coaches. The SDE has different requirements depending on the type of permit being sought and the number of years a coach has been coaching. Additionally, the SDE requires that all coaches be certified annually in CPR training.

 State Department of Education Mandated Coaching Education – The SDE now mandates that all coaches receive ongoing CEU’s. In order to help coaches obtain these CEU’s a majority of the athletic administrators in Connecticut attend workshops to become authorized to provide valuable in-service training to their coaches.

 State Department of Education Mandated Evaluation of Coaches – Effective in 2005, the state has issued a directive to school systems that ALL coaches at ALL levels, must be evaluated. This now means all head coaches as well as JV, freshman and middle school coaches will be evaluated by an athletic administrator. This is a task and size load that can very easily be equated to what a building principal would be asked to do but with much more support staff.

 CIAC Advancements in Technology – All CIAC student eligibility information and forms, such as rosters, intent-to-enter, facilities usage, request for higher division, tournament entry, etc., which were previously distributed and delegated to a sport coach for submittal, now must be submitted online with a password protected program by the athletic administrator. In individual sports like indoor and outdoor track, wrestling, swimming, tennis and golf, the athletic administrator has to enter each athlete’s performance record for the entire season. This year the CIAC, in an attempt to make its organization even more efficient, has required the daily reporting of scores which has become yet another responsibility of the athletic administrator.

 Officials Organizations Employ the Use of Technology – Many, and soon to be ALL, officials organizations employ the same type of scheduling and reporting of online information. In addition to submitting all schedules and pertinent team information through the CIAC web site, the athletic administrator has to re-enter the same information on different web sites to meet the needs of officials scheduling coordinators.

 Leagues Employ the Use of Technology – Most leagues now utilize an online scheduling program to facilitate schedule changes and cancellations. Each time technology is used to improve the efficiency of an organization it increases the workload of the athletic administrator.

 Parents Have Unreasonable Expectations – Athletic programs are run in a very public forum. Many parents want their child to be the center of attention. Athletic administrators now have to contend daily with parents who come armed with their attorney and/or political clout seeking resolution and, if not satisfied, revenge over the simplest of issues.

 Spectator Behavior – Spectator behavior is a constant concern as high school students continue to emulate the behavior demonstrated at college and professional sporting events. Athletics is competitive by nature and one of the opponents will be unsuccessful. Athletic administrators are constantly dealing with large crowds and unruly patrons.

 NCAA Student Eligibility Standards Increased – The NCAA has recently increased its requirements for graduating seniors who plan to enter college and participate in Division I or II college athletics.

Listed below are several initiatives which are currently being discussed and, if implemented, will again impact the athletic administrator’s position.

 SDE is Currently Discussing Revisions to Coaching Education Laws – The SDE has indicated an interest in revising the coaching education requirements. Some items for discussion include increasing the number of CEU’s and the minimum coaching qualifications, thus making the pool of coaches even smaller.

 CIAC Expansion in Use of Technology – The CIAC continues to seek ways to expand its on-line capabilities. In addition, the daily tasks of the athletic administrator will continue to increase as more students are involved in sports programs and additional sports programs are sponsored.

 CIAC’s Plan to Assess Athletic Programs – CIAC will soon embark upon the assessment of member school athletic programs. This is an excellent initiative, but once again, the athletic administrator will be the person responsible for this process.

In closing, the position of athletic administrator has changed drastically in the past ten years. The turnover rate is at an all-time high. Currently, more than 50% of the state’s athletic administrators have less than five years experience; and many of the younger AD’s do not plan to stay in the position for a long period of time. Responsibilities assigned to the position, the increased amount of time required, and the lack of resources are making the job nearly impossible. Veteran athletic administrators are opting to leave the profession earlier than they would have if they were given adequate support and assistance; and, some school systems are having difficulty attracting quality candidates to fill these openings. It is imperative that those individuals who have the power to do something about this growing problem take a long hard look at this NOW. Something must be done if we are to retain the quality individuals in these positions. The future of high school and middle school athletics in Connecticut will otherwise be in jeopardy.