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."
More Complaints Against Ex-AD Teague Emerge The University of Minnesota confirmed Wednesday that "additional reports have been received" in relation to former athletic director Norwood Teague since his abrupt resignation on Aug. 7. In a brief statement, the U said the new complaints had come in through EthicsPoint, a service it uses for confidential reporting. "Not all reports allege the same conduct," the statement said, but it provided no further details, "in fairness to those who have reported and others who may do so." read more
Do Participation Trophies Curb Kids' Competitiveness? Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is not about to get a trophy from the Awards and Personalization Association. read more
Flyers Still Plan to Drop Puck on Eve of Pope Visit With all the Pope Francis madness surrounding the last weekend in September, the Flyers are one of the few organizations not making changes to their schedule . . . at least not yet. read more
Coaches Can Influence Kids in Ways Parents Can't He was the fourth or fifth coach I called. I was asking high school coaches if they could really change the behavior of their teenage players. Could they keep them from swearing? Could they keep them from cutting class or cheating? Could they keep them from drinking or doing drugs? read more
Questions as NFL Owners Set to Meet About L.A. The NFL's pursuit of the Los Angeles market has gotten so hot and heavy this year that the league has called a special owners meeting to discuss the topic Tuesday in Chicago. There's a long way to go before determining which teams -- if any -- will move into which proposed stadium. read more
Batboy's Impact on Team Endures After Tragic Death "Go out there. Have fun. Play hard" -- requirements Kaiser Carlile demanded from his team when it was his turn to talk in the pregame huddles. The instructions for the Liberal (Kan.) Bee Jays did not come from a coach but from a batboy known for a quiet demeanor and a loud smile that often spoke for him. read more