RECENT ARTICLES
  • Editorial: Mitigate College Costs with Athletic Fees Cap

    by Robert M. Davis February 2015

    The recommendation to place a cap on the amount of fees that Virginia's institutions could collect was part of a large set of recommendations put forth by Virginia's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and released in November.

  • Hockey League’s No-Touch Policy Touches Off Debate

    by Emily Attwood February 2015

    A Toronto girls’ hockey league has drawn some attention this month, not because of its performance on the ice, but its policies related to player-coach interactions. 

    Following a complaint regarding a volunteer coach who congratulated a player by slapping her on the butt and squeezing her shoulders, the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association’s executive vice-president sent out an email to coaches with the following message: “Putting hands on shoulders, slapping butts, tapping them on the helmet, NOTHING, this can make some of the girls uncomfortable and you won’t know which ones, so no contact, period.”

    Following criticism from parents and a flurry of online commentary, the league issued a statement clarifying the league’s policy, stating that the email was only intended to remind coaches of the league’s existing policy, not replace it:

    “The issue about physical contact is a guideline only. Please know that we naturally understand that contact is part of the game. We also acknowledge that it is normal for volunteers to touch players in certain circumstances – e.g. helping with skates and helmets; assisting a young player on and off the bench; helping an injured player off the ice. The suggestion in the news media is that we have implemented a no contact policy. Please be assured that this is not the case.”

    League president Jennifer Smith went on to explain, "At no time did the TLGHA invoke a new policy. The section of the email about physical contact with players did not draw a clear enough distinction between hard and fast rules and guidelines. These are guidelines only."

    RELATED: No-Score Youth Sports Policies Gaining Popularity

    Still, the zero-tolerance position of the email touched off what many players and coaches feel is an important discussion about the roll of physical contact between players and coaches in sports. Reactions were mixed, with some feeling a no-contact policy went to far and others that it only made sense to discourage unnecessary contact between players and coaches. 

    “Obviously we’ve been taking steps ever since we’ve known that some bad things have happened to kids back in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” Twenty-year hockey coach David Trombley told CTV Toronto. “Definitely we’re out here to protect the kids.”

    “I think it’s a real shame in a public situation on the bench that they’re not allowed to give a congratulatory tap,” said one parent. “I absolutely understand behind closed doors and in the locker room, but maybe on the bench and on the ice, it’s a different situation.”

    For Dave Cmar, president of Sun Parlour Female Hockey Association in Ontario, it’s a logistics issue. 

    “We wouldn’t have the resources to be at every arena, at every game,” he told The Windsor Star. “The difficulty would be in uniformly applying that.”

    Sports psychologist Kate Hays defended coach-player contact as an important aspect of player development, telling CBCNews, “It says, 'I'm paying attention to you, you've done a good job, I know you are really engaged, you are important to me, you are important to the team.'" 

    Perhaps more important, Hays says that it’s part of teaching children the difference between appropriate and inappropriate contact. "The idea of learning about non-sexualized, non-aggressive touch is something that indicates a positive connection among human beings.” 

     
    Should touching a player's shoulder be considered inappropriate contact for a coach?
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  • NHL's OT System: What's Point of Rewarding Defeat?

    by AB Staff February 2015

    The Blackhawks beat the Penguins 2-1 in a shootout Sunday, raising a familiar question. Why can't anyone explain the NHL's overtime point system in a way that makes sense.

  • Opinion: Every LLWS Team Should Be Investigated

    by RICK MORRISSEY February 2015

    No Little League coach or official should have to take abuse for pointing out that another team might not have played by the rules.

  • UT Finds Sex with Player 'Consensual'; Accuser Stunned

    by Anita Wadhwani, The Tennessean February 2015

    She was just three weeks into her freshman year at the University of Tennessee — her first-choice college — when one Saturday night party derailed all of her plans.

  • To End Cheating, Little League Needs to Change

    by Rick Morrissey, Chicago Sun-Times February 2015

    Little League International took the right action by stripping Jackie Robinson West of its national title. But how the multimillion-dollar organization found its way to that decision is ridiculous.

  • Will NIT Experiment Boost Scoring in College Hoops?

    by Scott Adamson February 2015

    Twenty-three years ago, NCAA Division II Troy State University and NAIA member Devry University of Atlanta decided to give basketball fans something to talk about.

  • Youth Swim Coach Accused of Sharing Explicit Photos

    by Melinda Miller February 2015

    A coach with a town youth swim club in Eden was arrested Thursday and charged with three offenses in the alleged sharing of sexually explicit photos with a 16-year-old girl.

  • Proposal to Revamp NJ Football Seeding Shot Down

    by Phil Anastasia; Inquirer Staff Writer February 2015

    Reversing field, the NJSIAA football committee has shot down a proposal by the state's football coaches to revamp the seeding process for the public-school playoffs.

  • Little League Champs Stripped of National Title

    by Emily Attwood February 2015

    Nearly two months after allegations that the Jackie Robinson West team violated residency rules, the governing board of Little League Baseball has stripped the team of its 2014 U.S. championship title. The team drew significant attention during this past year’s Little League season as the first team comprised of all African-American participants to win the national title.

    In December, a rival team accused the Chicago-based team of using players outside its geographic area in December, allegations that were initially dismissed. But an investigation by the Little League organization revealed that the team used a map with falsified boundaries to recruit players from neighboring districts. As a result of the investigation, the team will vacate its wins from the 2014 Little League Baseball International Tournament, including its regional and national titles, the latter of which will be awarded to Mountain Ridge Little League of Las Vegas. 

    “For more than 75 years, Little League has been an organization where fair play is valued over the importance of wins and losses,” Little League International CEO Stephen D. Keener said in a statement. “This is a heartbreaking decision. What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome.”

    Local officials acknowledged in January that they knew of the team’s violations but had not reported them to the governing body, sparking the league to reopen its investigation. The team’s manager has since been suspended, and the league’s administrator for the district has been removed from his position. 

    “Little League takes these matters very seriously and has spent countless hours gathering information about the many issues facing Jackie Robinson West Little League and Illinois District 4,” Keener said. “During our review, it became clear that both Jackie Robinson West officials and District Administrator, Mike Kelly signed documents to make players eligible who should not have been.”