Wednesday, December, 17, 2014
Sayreville AD Suspended Amid Hazing Investigation
The Board of Education voted on Tuesday night to suspend the Sayreville High School athletic director amid an investigation into the hazing scandal involving its football program. The football team's season came to an abrupt and early end in October following allegations of harassment, bullying and sexual assault.
The board voted 8-0 to suspend athletic director John Kohutanycz with pay, effective December 17. The school's football coach, George Najjar, has been suspended since October, though four assistant coaches suspended at that time have been reinstated.
At Tuesday night's meeting, the board also approved the hiring of one of those assistant football coaches, Michael Novak, as the school's new strength coach, a position Najjar held until his suspension. The move was a controversial one among board members, some of whom felt that Novak should not have been considered for the position because of his connection to the football hazing investigation. Said one board member in a written statement, "I voted no on appointing Michael Novak as strength and conditioning coach because I don't believe that any of the football coaches should be returning to any coaching position at this time."
Seven players have been charged as part of the ongoing investigation, though no coaches or administrators have faced charged.
Friday, December, 12, 2014
AD Reassigned as Iowa Braces for Her Partner's Lawsuit
Pending a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by her partner, an athletic administrator for the University of Iowa has been reassigned. Jane Meyer, a senior associate athletic director, has been reassigned to the school’s facilities management office, where she will assist with construction contract quality and compliance.
Friday, December, 05, 2014
New Transgender Athlete Policies Approved in Minn., Va.
Following successful votes by their respective high school governing bodies, transgender student-athletes at high schools in Minnesota and Virginia will be able to participate in sports based on their identified gender.
"I applaud the Minnesota High School League's decision to pass a proposal that tells trans students in our community their identities matter just as much as everyone else's," said Congressman Keith Ellison in a written statement. "At a time when so many transgender students are bullied and harassed in the schoolyard, the MSHSL's decision recognizes their dignity and humanity on and off the playing field. All trans students are asking for is to be treated as human beings and I stand with them."
The policy has been getting a lot of attention in Minnesota over the past few months, delaying a vote initially planned for October after more than 10,000 emails were sent to league officials voicing opinions on the issue. Once again, supporters and opponents of the policy packed the meeting room for this week's vote, holding signs expressing their opinions. The new policy, approved by 18 of 20 board members, specifically addresses the participation of students born male but identifying as female participating in girls' sports, as state law already allows for girls' participation in boys' sports.
"We would not want to take away that privilege from anyone, but the answer is not to say that you should be given special privileges above and beyond everyone else," said Autumn Leva of the Minnesota Family Council, which submitted a petition with more than 5,000 signatures opposing the policy. "The answer isn't to say we're just going to completely ignore physical realities, especially in the world of physical sports."
The new policy in Virginia amends one passed by the Virginia High School League last February that included the requirement that students must undergo gender reassignment surgery before being allowed to play for a team matching their identified gender. The requirement was viewed as too strict and unobtainable, since reassignment surgery is rarely approved for those under the age of 18.
While the new policy removes this restriction, students must still meet a variety of criteria before their participation on a particular sports team is approved. Students must submit a personal statement affirming their gender identity, as well as testimonies from family or peers, and must demonstrate that they have begun some type of hormone therapy.
The materials must then be submitted to the VHSL district committee, which will review the materials and make a recommendation to VHSL’s executive director. If the request is approved, a student is immediately eligible to begin participating in a sport. If denied, a student can appeal the decision.
In Minnesota, students must submit statements from parents and healthcare professionals, leaving the decision up to the school's activities director, though appeals will be conducted by an independent party. The new policy will take effect beginning with the 2015-16 school year. Private schools will be exempt from the policy under state and federal law. The MHSL’s approval of the new policy brings the number of states with some type of policy addressing transgender student participation in high school activities to 33.
Friday, December, 05, 2014
New Projects: Wilmington Center for Sport Sciences | Armed Services YMCA
Tuesday, December, 02, 2014
Designing Tracks for Recreational Users
A staple in any modern recreation center is the walking or jogging track. It is typically found elevated around the gymnasium, offering the user views of the activity below — a sensible arrangement, but not necessarily the best, depending on the size of the facility.
Wednesday, November, 26, 2014
Youth Football Coach Stabbed During Sideline Fight
A youth football tournament in Eastman, Ga. on Monday was briefly interrupted after a fight broke out between two coaches, landing both in jail for the night.
The incident happened during the annual Turkey Bowl, a 22-team tournament coordinated by the Eastman-Dodge County Recreation Department. Christopher McDowell and Kerry Williams, two of the three coaches of the Wheeler County football team comprised of 7- and 8-year-olds, got into a fight over McDowell’s handling of a player’s request to sit out.
“One of (the Wheeler) kids came over and said he was tired and wanted to come out. The coach who was stabbed told him the game was almost over and to go back in,” Dodge Sheriff Lynn Sheffield told The Telegraph. “The other coach took issue with that and said, ‘I’m tired of your crap.’”
The two coaches began fighting, and McDowell was stabbed in his side by Williams. McDowell was taken to a local hospital, treated and released. Both men were cited for the fight and spent the night in jail.
County recreation director Travis Niblett helped break up the fight, and also prevented Williams from fleeing the scene. “It may not have been smart, but I grabbed him and pretty much restrained him till the sheriff showed up,” Niblett said.
After order was restored, the game between Wheeler County and Telfair County for third place in the Turkey Bowl continued. According to Niblett, the parents and officials decided, “the idiots are gone, let’s play ball.”
Tuesday, November, 18, 2014
New Projects: Campus Crossroads | Xavier University | Southlake Community Rec
The University of Notre Dame begins construction this month on Campus Crossroads (pictured), a $400 million project that will add three academic buildings and premium seating onto Notre Dame Stadium.
Tuesday, November, 11, 2014
Halloween Parties Lead to Suspension of 45 Athletes
The winter sports season is off to a bad start — and the fall season a bad finish — at Tahoma High School in Covington, Wash., where 45 student-athletes have been suspended from playing sports after attending Halloween parties where drugs and alcohol were present.
Police responding to a noise complaint discovered one of the parties. According to the King County sheriff's office, dozens of students were present, including many in school letter jackets. Those involved in the parties included 14 football players, four girls’ soccer players, two boys’ soccer players, two softball players, four wrestlers, seven baseball players and 12 cheerleaders.
According to a letter sent to parents, “Student-athletes who attended the parties will forfeit a portion of their athletic season, including any athlete whose team is currently involved in post-season play. The investigation to determine whether additional students attended the parties is continuing.”
Suspensions for those involved will range from one quarter to one half of the sports season, with those student-athletes not currently in season serving their suspension when the season begins.
"Our student-athletes are well aware of the Tahoma School District Athletic Code and the consequences of these poor choices,” said principal Terry Duty. “We hope this will be a lifelong lesson for our entire school, both those who choose to attend the parties and those who elect to do the right thing and not attend."
Officials are also investigating alleged threats made online against students who reported the parties to authorities. "School officials also are aware of negative comments on social media that name individuals or groups of students and blame them for reporting the parties to school authorities,” read the letter to parents. “School officials take all threats seriously and are investigating any threatening language directed at students or staff. Appropriate disciplinary actions have and will continue to be sanctioned.”
Wednesday, November, 05, 2014
Designing the Modern College Football Practice Facility
Recruiting the best athletes is only part of staying ahead of the competition in college athletics; schools also need to have the resources to train the best athletes.
Monday, November, 03, 2014
New Projects: Anderson University | Kent Recreation Center | Mesa High School
Monday, June, 16, 2014
AB's Architectural Showcase a Yearlong Affair
The Architectural Showcase in June is the one issue of Athletic Business I look forward to most each year. It's also the issue I spend most of each year working on.
Friday, April, 04, 2014
Blog: Wine at the Gym? I’ll Drink to That
Cardio equipment? Check. Towel service? Check. Group exercise schedule? Check. Liquor license? Pending.
Thursday, February, 27, 2014
Blog: Let Them Eat Cake, If They So Choose
On Tuesday, the White House announced a series of new initiatives as part of the fourth anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” program. Many of them are a great step forward in the battle against childhood obesity and inactivity, including an expansion of the school breakfast program and a five-year partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association and Boys & Girls Clubs of America will provide 5 million children with healthy snacks and physical activity opportunities after school.
Monday, January, 13, 2014
Blog: Women-Only Fitness Zones Perpetuate Stereotypes
Here at AB, it’s the editors’ job to stay on top of what’s happening in the industries we serve. As such, last Friday I came across an article about a gym in Vancouver getting some flak for its decision to close its women-only section.
Thursday, October, 10, 2013
Blog: If You Can't Beat 'Em… Beat 'Em Up!
I was sitting in a hotel lobby surrounded by other people when I opened up my morning news alerts and saw an article announcing the Kentucky High School Athletic Associations' decision to suspend post-game handshakes, so I had to keep my disgust to a minimum - a casual eye roll and understated sigh. Seriously? These athletes are displaying poor sportsmanship, and the solution to that is to do away with the concept? That's like dropping math from the curriculum because the students aren't getting it.
Friday, September, 20, 2013
Blog: Defending "The Slowest Generation"
Friday afternoon, when I should have been hard at work on AB's November issue, I instead found myself fuming over an article from Thursday's Wall Street Journal sent to me by our company owner. The article deemed younger athletes "The Slowest Generation," and accused my generation of being too apathetic about performance and competition.