A Day in the Life of a K-12 Athletic Administrator
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. After playing sports, refereeing, coaching and going to school to become a physical education teacher, you are starting the day as an Athletic Administrator of a K-12 school district. Your main goal isn’t the winning or losing, it’s instilling in these young people the love of sportsmanship and the desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
You really don’t want to run a program where students pay regular visits to the nurse, take long walks to the bathroom or always race to the end of the line so that they don’t have to participate. You want to administer a program where children are eager to come to physical education classes, participated in the activities and enjoyed learning and developing new skills. Now is your chance to throw out the old things that didn’t work and implement them with new ideas that, hopefully, will give every child the chance to have an excellent experience in athletics.
As an interscholastic athletic administrator, your work days can be as diverse as they are exciting. What are some of your responsibilities?
The responsibilities of an athletic director vary from school system to school system. The main responsibility is to prepare and adhere to a budget for the entire department. The budget should include items such as; uniforms, equipment and supplies. Teams will need transportation for away games. Awards are usually given to middle and high school athletes who win intramural and divisional titles. These awards could be a school letter, a varsity jacket or a trophy. This may mean sponsoring fundraisers and working with the members of a booster club to insure that every child possesses the necessary equipment for playing the sport from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
It is the responsibility of the administrator to supervise and evaluate his staff. This includes keeping the staff informed of any changes in the curriculum and ensuring that the staff teaches the skills that are outlined by the state and city according to their standards. If a staff member is lacking in any skill set, it will be your responsibility to assist the staff member on improving their deficits according to the teachers’ contract. If they are not able to meet standards, then it will be your duty to sever their employment and hire a new teacher who does possess the skills needed.
Athletes are not born with the knowledge that it required in each sport. Skill sets should be taught on each grade level that will take a child and provide them with the basics to thrive in that sport. It will also be a part of your job to ensure that the students are maintaining their academic load. Each division has its own policy as to G.P.A. and your athletes must be able to show that they achieved it. This may involve a conversation with the student, the student’s parents and the teacher and recommendations and accommodations that can be made to help the student meet these goals. Very few high school athletes become major leaguers in any sport. Part of your job description is to insure that they will be self-sufficient in the world as adults.
As the athletic director, you need to ensure that all equipment is assured to meet or exceed the recommended guidelines for the health and well-being of your students. All coaching staff must be trained in the basic first aid procedures, concussion standards and the overall well-being of the players. Coaching and staff must have available all necessary equipment to prevent a tragedy from happening, if possible.
Providing safety at school events is also a top concern. You will have to provide that all entrances and exits as well as restrooms are patrolled. Money received from entrance fees and concession stands must be counted and safeguarded. It is part of your job that the right people are hired for these tasks and that they are fully knowledgeable in the district’s safety procedures during a crisis.
Most school systems already have a code of conduct in place. Of course, with approval from the Superintendent and the School Committee, you can add any codes that you would like to see implemented.
The most troubling causes of concern are hazing and bullying. Hazing usually happens when there is outside pressure either from coaching staff or parents to excel at the winning aspect of sports. Bullying happens at all grade levels. This is usually when a bigger student intimidates a less athletic student because of their lack of ability, a mistake that was made in the playing of the game or because of another mistake that was made earlier. It is forefront that all students in your domain feel comfortable and safe when participating in physical education activities. If there is a problem, it should be brought to your attention immediately and dealt with according to the existing standards.
Incidents involved with hazing and bullying can injure a child, not only physically but mentally. The hazer and the bully must realize the negative impact of their behavior on the other child. Sometimes, it takes sitting out of a game, suspension or even suspension from the game itself to make your point well known. Keep the student’s parents involved in the process and have them assist you in changing the attitude.
Another part of ethics is good sportsmanship. To most adults, winning or losing is not such a “big deal.” But to some parents and students, losing a game is a large disappointment. They find people to blame and often have a burst of temper directed at someone other than themselves. Others find winning to be their birthright. They boast about their deeds and putting down the opposing players. They become too boisterous in their celebration. These are the types of children that you need to watch closely as they become too invested in the game. The old adage, “Winning is everything,” is one that they follow and will go to extreme means to accomplish it. Some of these students will follow in the pro athlete’s footsteps and use illegal substance, cheating or purposely injuring another player to win.
You are now ready to begin your day as the Athletic Director, but remember: the job is not just paperwork. It is enjoying the games with your students. It means having fun. It just might mean not growing up so quickly. Here are some websites that you can read to give you more of the ins and outs of the job:
No job can be learned overnight, so face each day as a new beginning. Be thankful if you finish half of what is on your “To Do” list. Tomorrow is another day.