Principals’ Handbook 2020 Update
Athletic Programs NAD Principals’ Handbook Excerpt
Principals need to be sensitive and responsive to the expectations of constituents when initiating, implementing, monitoring, or eliminating athletic programs, either intramural or interscholastic. The principal should be aware of the policies of the school board, conference, and union.
Ways to Promote Good Sportsmanship
Good sportsmanship must be evident in both intramural and interscholastic programs. This is demonstrated by coaches, athletes, and spectators. Ways to promote good sportsmanship include:
Intramural programs are those focused primarily on providing athletic opportunities for all students in team sports on campus. Where eligibility requirements exist (e.g., attendance, academics) for participation, they should be communicated clearly, preferably in writing, to students and parents early in the school year.
To realize successful intramural programs, principals should address the following:
It is the responsibility of the principal to ensure that the high ideals of sportsmanship, integrity, ethics, and competition are incorporated into each sport when interscholastic sports have been included in the school program. Periodic evaluation of interscholastic programs must be completed as outlined in policy (NAD/UCOE/LCOE).
Where participation in interscholastic sports involves membership in a local or regional athletic association, principals should be certain that the association’s mission, goals, objectives, etc., are consistent with the mission, goals, and expectations of the school. Principals must secure school board approval for participation in interscholastic sports and membership in interscholastic associations.
Schools involved in interscholastic sports must give consideration to such things as:
The Role of Athletics in Seventh-day Adventist Education
Lucio Camacho | Athletic Director—Loma Linda Academy
“To bring people, community, and others (that we would never have known), together . . .” – Academy Student-Athlete, October 2020
In a time when division is more common than unity, when we are more comfortable with the term “social distancing” than with teamwork, and when our desperation for connection is almost palpable, we have an answer. The above statement is an affirmation of the impact of Seventh-day Adventist education on a young person living in times that include racial tension, physical isolation, and political polarity.
Athletics in the Seventh-day Adventist educational system is now accepted for teaching discipline, time management, sportsmanship, and that “our bodies are temples”—important healthful-living principles. But is that all it does? In a time such as this, when every aspect of education is being pulled apart and scrutinized under the strains caused by decreased enrollment, governmental mandates, and synchronous or remote-only learning, we can and must ask more of athletics. We cannot afford to cancel sports, ignore our athletes, or subject our athletic directors, coaches, and PE teachers to reductions in force. Students are spending their days physically distancing from each other and experiencing more screen time than is arguably good for them!
“Good coaches and teammates can impact someone highly physically, emotionally, and in their Christian walk.” – Academy Student-Athlete, October 2020
As educators, we actively seek opportunities for lifelong learning and bridge-building through relevant teachable moments. Listen to what your students and young people are saying. Sports and professional athletes are everywhere, from newsworthy events such as the World Series and World Championships that made history during this pandemic to the social commentary about taking a knee or standing during the national anthem. Athletes also promote health and wellness through mask-wearing, protein drinks, even marriage, and family values; our young people are listening and engaging with the world’s athletes. We must not miss the opportunity to “carry the gospel” to the world through our student-athletes.
“Expand our Adventist community and making connections. #2020 mission work.”
– Academy Student-Athlete, October 2020
When asked, “Why do we have athletics at our school,” our student-athletes easily articulate their role in the athletics mission field. As educators, we know that our schools are mission fields, and we know that our purpose is to spread the good news. But do we know if we are missing opportunities in the year 2020 to deliberately practice our SDA beliefs and join a powerful, influential conversation through athletics? Some of society’s most influential voices are professional athletes. The world knows this, and we must make sure that our student-athletes see the importance of their position and their voices to the world as well.
“The role of athletics being integrated into our schools is to assist the students in practicing the social aspect of Christianity.” – Academy Student-Athlete, October 2020
As educators, we may be more comfortable with classroom teaching or in core class curriculum, but what about the students who are more comfortable discussing sports, life as an athlete, or the game they just played with peers that are not from their neighborhood, race or school? What if our comfort is a sign of being more in our world than in our students’ world? What if our comfort indicates relevance to ourselves instead of to our students?
What I am asking us to do, as Seventh-day Adventist leaders and educators, is to be uncomfortable with our comfort, so we can ensure that athletics in education is mission-driven and used to “carry the gospel to the world.” We cannot afford to miss this opportunity in such a time as this.
I recently asked my class of academy students what is important about athletics. The quotes in this article come from student-athletes as they responded to this question.
If having money were a requirement to start an athletic department at an Adventist school, chances are none would have started. Nevertheless, I believe that a successful and winning varsity sports program is synonymous with healthy enrollment numbers and should be funded through the school's operating budget, just like the PE program. The truth of the matter is that most are not. However, not having funding from the school should not deter from continuing to have an athletic department. There are many ways to fundraise, other than car washes and bake sales. Here are three that have been successful.
First, rent out the school facilities. If there is a gym, weight room, soccer field, or football field, renting these facilities to a non-profit organization can be a great income source. Organizations that are youth and sports specific are also a great way to recruit for the school. Having those kids on campus helps the marketing and enrollment offices accomplish their goals. Ask the renting organization for an opportunity to meet with their players and families. Use this occasion to provide an open house and tell them about the school; this is a great marketing and enrollment opportunity. We have been able to recruit many students from our renting organizations. Another plus for renting the school facilities is that the renters will contribute to the facilities' upkeep and improvement because doing so benefits them as well. Our school built a weight room thanks to the support of one of our renting groups who also benefits from using the new facility.
Second, form a group of alumni and prominent community members that have a stake in the athletic department's success. We call ours the Athletic Advisory Council, and their primary purpose is to help fundraise. They donate money themselves, find others to donate, and coordinate events such as golf tournaments, phone-athons, silent auctions, and live auctions. Our council has 40 members and meets three to four times a year. Each school can tailor their group to meet their needs and the needs of the community. The committee not only gives guidance and support on how to generate funds but also on how to make your program better overall.
Third, have a golf tournament. It is nice when the school has a community volunteer to organize and run it; however, you can hire someone if there is no volunteer. They will usually charge a commission rate, which means there is no out-of-pocket expense to retain their services. If this option is not possible, the athletic director can run the tournament. Even a one-person operation can accomplish this with help from the council, students, alumni, parents, teachers, and other volunteers. It can be a lot of fun, plus in today's environment, people are looking for something to do outdoors. It takes work but can be an excellent annual fundraiser.
Our school has been blessed to be able to generate funds through these methods. We have supported not only the daily operations of our athletic department but also our worthy student fund. Students recruited through these programs become school family, many have been baptized, and all graduate and continue to college. Athletic departments can be an essential part of the recruitment plan for our schools. This year half of our student body attends because of the varsity sports program. In addition, athletics often plays a key role in students giving their lives to Christ.