Monday, February 13, 2006

The Discretion of Coaches

The January issue of CABE's The Journal ran an article called "The Nutmeg Board: Coach violates constitutional right of free speech".

The body of the article written by Thomas B. Mooney, Esq. discusses the fact that schoolextracurricular activities are a privilege not a right and therefore coaches, BOE, and administrators can impose rules that normally would not apply in normal school activities. Unfortunately the article is not available on-line. The hypothetical case concluded that a coach can schedule practices outside a normal school schedule but cannot cut a player in retaliation for complaining.

Buried at the end of the article is a new CT statute about firing coaches that's worth discussing.

"Under newly enacted Connecticut State Statutes ~10-222e, coaches with three or more years of experience in a position have new rights. Such coaches... may be fired only for "moral misconduct or a violation of the rules of the Board of Education". Otherwise they must be notified of their non-renewal within ninety days of the end of the season. Moreover they may appeal termination or non-renewal "in a manner prescribed by the Board of Education. The Board may need such review procedures here." (as in the example provided)

We need to think about what constitutes grounds for non-renewal.

Would it be something as ambiguous as being accused of bad coaching?

Or something as subtle as caving in to the interests of loud parents by promoting their sons and daughters over players who play by the rules, play hard, and earn the right to play?

And what about winning and losing? Are athletes and teams allowed to lose in dignity or can they be publicly humiliated with benchings because the score is embarassing to a coach?

What about coaches who crush the competition even when the outcome is no longer in doubt?

Do screaming coaches ever cross a line?

And what about the sensational stories about coaches getting physically involved with players?

Lots to think about and talk about for the policy committee.

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