I had a nice sit-down this morning with John Engh, chief operating officer of the National Alliance for Youth Sports. It's been almost a year since the nonprofit organization introduced the Coach Rating System - a tool that allows parents to provide positive (and negative) feedback to coaches, coaches to discover their own strengths and weaknesses, and program administrators to ensure their coaches are the right men and women for the job. I thought now would be a good time to check in and see how it's going. So far, about 130 NAYS member chapters have taken advantage of the free tool, and initial reaction has been positive. "All of the things that we were focused on in the past - coaches' training, background checks - are still challenges for us," Engh told me. "But now we're trying to draw a parallel between a volunteer coach and an employee." What about those youth sports organizations that already struggle to find coaches? Will they be tempted to set the bar low for coaches who receive negative feedback, worried about creating the need to find a mid-season replacement for a poor-performing coach? "We don't dictate to the leagues what they should do; we give them guidelines for what we think they should do," Engh says. "We're being proactive by saying that this tool is very useful to those coaches who may be borderline. Now all the parents are watching them, and those parents have a voice." Don't worry if your not a NAYS member; Engh says the association is working on ways to get the Coach Rating System out to as many organizations as possible. "If every coach in America is getting evaluated like this 10 years from now, we've done our job."
Crash Kills Nebraska, Ex-Michigan State Kickers University of Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were killed in a single-car traffic accident Saturday. Foltz, 22, and Sadler, 24, were traveling back from a football camp near Waukesha, Wis., the University of Nebraska confirmed in a news release. Sadler, who was driving, and Foltz were pronounced dead at the scene. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye, 21, who was a passenger in the back seat, was taken to Waukesha Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Waukesha County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jennifer Wallschlaeger told USA TODAY Sports. Delahoussaye was released from the hospital and was at home, LSU confirmed in a statement. read more
Despite Fines, WNBA Players Committed to Activism The WNBA has fined the Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever and their players for wearing black warm-up shirts in the wake of recent shootings by and against police officers. All three teams were fined $5,000, and each player was fined $500. read more
Baylor's Interim Coach Clarifies 'Culture' Comments Jim Grobe's first impression as Baylor's interim coach at the Big 12 Conference's media days wasn't necessarily a productive one for the university's still-reeling image. But after a somewhat clumsy news conference Tuesday morning, he came back in the afternoon and clarified his views on the culture surrounding sexual violence that has thrown the campus into upheaval in recent months. read more
Opinion: Crowell, Lynx Show Collision of Sports, Society There's a universe of difference between Isaiah Crowell's recent action and the action of four Minnesota Lynx players, as stark as the contrast between death and life. The Cleveland Browns halfback posted a despicable graphic that depicts the brutal killing of a police officer. The WNBA ballers wore T-shirts that read "Change starts with us. Justice & accountability" on the front, and "Black Lives Matter" on the back, along with the names of two African-American men killed by police last week and the Dallas Police Department emblem. Despite the wide gulf between Crowell's since-deleted Instagram post and the players' attire, four off-duty police officers working the Lynx game at Target Center were outraged by the latter. They found the message to be so offensive, they walked off the job Saturday night. read more
Challenges Ahead for Missouri as AD Jumps for Baylor Roughly an hour before first-year Missouri coach Barry Odom was set to make his debut here at the SEC's media days, USA TODAY Sports reported that Mack Rhoades, the man who hired him last December, had accepted the athletics director job at Baylor. read more
Opinion: Sports Help Country Heal After Tragedy I am old, so I remember the last time this happened. And by this, I mean an entire nation stopping in its tracks to grieve over what’s happening in downtown Dallas where a sniper’s bullets rain down from above and destroy lives and change how we think about our world. read more