Implementing Policy and Procedures in Athletics

An athletic director must have a wide range of management skills, in order to succeed in his/ her position. Having been appointed as one, several skills such as public speaking and business skills are essential in overseeing the performance and budget of the institution athletic program. Gentile (2011) pointed out that directors need to have good interpersonal skills and the capability to communicate efficiently. They need to have experience in coaching and supervising. The director needs all these skills, in order to create policy and procedure manual for both the employees and the student athletes, who are the main stakeholders. In this regard, the current paper presents a discussion on how to develop a policy and procedures manual.

Policies and Procedures

Lopiano and Zotos (2013) defined a policy as a consistent guide to be followed under a certain set of conditions. Good policies should not confine an administrator into a rigid procedure or decision making. Instead, it offers guidance for dealing with a wide range of programmatic and departmental issues. On the other hand, a procedure refers to sequential steps, required for achieving a certain objective. Lopiano and Zotos (2013) pointed out that a procedure might outline the way in which a certain policy is to be implemented. However, procedures cannot take the place of a policy. Policies and procedures should be documented in writing for various reasons, such as defending a behavior, action, or practice, prior to an arbitration body.

Constructing Policies and Procedures Manual

An athletics department within a university will need an institutional policy and procedures manual, which comprise of all policies and procedures, applying to throughout the department. A policy and procedures applied to a single department, like the athletics department, are often reviewed and approved by the appropriate department director. In actual practice, policy and procedures manuals are reviewed frequently as new equipment is installed (Athletic Training, 2013).

Literature Justifying What to Include in the P&P Manual

The following will be included in the policy and procedures manual: introduction, government authority, department staff, general employment policy, new hire information, purchasing, equipment control, athletics facilities, student-athlete services, student-athlete recruiting, student-athlete financial aid, student-athlete eligibility, student-athlete academics, student-athlete medical, and travel policy and procedures.

The introduction segment of a P&P manual establishes the scope, mission statement, vision values and responsibilities of the athletics department. It is important to note that policies need to be adhered to by all staff members and coaches. Several literature pieces have cited that scope of the P&P defines its applicability. According to the Office of Human Resources (2013), the scope of the P&P manual consists of all the stages of the intercollegiate athletics program. The mission of the department is to offer a broad-based educational experience for student-athletes, focused on promoting academic success. The Athletics Department encourages a sense of community within the University.

The governing authority comprises of the president, athletics director, faculty athletic representative, and faculty senate committee on intercollegiate athletics. With regard to the president, the university president has the crucial role in conducting athletics programs. Athletics director reports to the university president. He or she should be responsible for the implementation and maintenance of all policies, concerning athletics. According to the Athletics Department of Southeastern Louisiana University (2000), the athletics director should use the Annual Human Resource assessment method for assessing staff members and coaches, in order to meet university and contractual requirements. The faculty athletics representatives (FAR) should work closely with the athletics director and the university president, in order to foster campus environment in which athletics program is an essential component. According to the Athletics Department of Wilmington University (2011), the faculty of athletics representative serves as the academic representative of the institution to the NCAA. Examples of roles of the FAR include assessing the Certification of Eligibility for all continuing athletes participating in investigations of possible infractions of NCAA and assisting with the petition preparation for injury and eligibility purposes for athletes. The faculty senate committee shall comprise of the athletics director, the chairperson of the university presidential committee on the implementation of athletics programs, and the faculty representative to the NCAA. This committee has the role of developing policies, governing intercollegiate sports with the approval of the faculty senate on issues of considerable importance.

The departmental staff shall comprise of the athletics director, senior associate athletic director for external affairs, associate athletic director for internal operations, and assistant athletic director for compliance (Athletic Training, 2013). With regards to athletic director, the policy clearly states that he or she has the administrative responsibility for approval, direct supervision and control of the athletics program, its coaching and support staff. The senior associate athletic director for external affairs shall be responsible for marketing communications, sales and fundraising for department of athletics.

In relation to the general employment policy, all members of the department of athletics shall be employed by the university and they are subject to the rules, policies, and regulations of the university. Additionally, the members of the department are responsible for upholding and abiding to the rules and regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The new employees are required to attend an orientation meeting.

The equipment room functions to serve both the competition and practice equipments, needed by all teams at the university. The major responsibility of the equipments control shall be the issuance and retrieval of athletic equipment, repair and upkeep of athletic equipment. However, they are required to abide by the stipulations of Title IX, and not discriminate against any team or individual based on sex, race, disability or nationality (Athletics Department of Southeastern Louisiana University, 2000).

With regards to policies linked to facilities, scheduling of athletic facilities in the physical education and outdoor athletics shall be the responsibility of the athletics director. Requests, special arrangements and conflicts need to be approved through the office of the appropriate director. This includes Title IX conflicts that need to be addressed through the appropriate office of the coordinator or director.

Policies linked to student-athlete services focus on areas directly affecting the student-athlete population. According to the the Athletics Department of Wilmington University (2011), all athletic administrators, coaches and support staff should be aware of the following areas: disciplinary actions for student-athletes, and student-athlete code of conduct information. Any student-athlete charged with a crime involving game fixing or gambling under the law shall be suspended automatically from playing and practice privileges until the charges are dismisses or dropped.

Examples of Policies and Procedures Manuals

Athletics Department of Southeastern Louisiana University.(2000). Athletics policies and procedures manual. Louisiana: Southeastern Louisiana University.

As a member of NCAA, Southeastern Louisiana University is obligated to follow appropriate practices and enforce Title IX. The university is also required to enforce legislations concerning, areas such as recruiting, eligibility, admissions retention, financial aids and graduation success rates.

In the policy, the university’s athletics department has stated its mission as: to foster loyalty to the university through its competition. According to the athletics department, the efforts of athletes, coaches and staff need to reflect well on Southeastern Louisiana University.

The organizational and administrative structure includes administrators, coaches, and student-athletes. Administrators have the responsibility of establishing policies and procedures that help in achieving the mission and objectives of the department. The head coach for women and men is responsible to the Director of athletics. In the P&P manual, the university requires the head coach to brief his or her team and comply with Title IX. Besides, the coaches must also adhere to athletes’ recruitment procedures as required by Title IX.

Athletics Department of Cleveland University. (2012). Policy and procedure manual.

The policies and procedures for athletics department in Cleveland University must be complied with by all staff, coaches and student athletes. The Director of athletics is the only individual who can issue exceptions to these policies and procedures. The policies and procedures of the athletics department shall be reviewed yearly by the senior athletics administrative staff and other appropriate Department of Athletics staff. The mission of the athletics departments in Cleveland University is to offer a broad-based educational experience for student-athletes. This mission statement is in support of the adherence to the Title IX regulations. An analysis of the University of Cleveland’s reveals that it is the responsibility of the department to offer an athletic program that is competitive and earns the support and confidence of the public.

Athletic Training. (2013). Western Michigan University athletic training professionalprogram: Policy & procedure manual.

The P&P manual for Western Michigan University recognizes the role of the Athletic Training Professional Program (ATPP). The ATPP is committed to the profession of athletics training and developing the next generation of athletics trainers. According to the university’s mission statement, Western Michigan University is committed to the preparation of highly skilled and qualified athletic trainers who contribute to the global allied health community by offering a supportive and distinctive learning environment. Unlike other policy manuals, Western Michigan University’s P&P manual conspicuously highlights the non-discrimination policy. This prohibits harassments and discrimination that violates the law, especially Title IX. Other athletics departments in other universities highlight rules and regulation prohibiting discrimination, but in a faint manner.

Athletics Department of Wilmington University. (2011). Wilmington University athletics department policies and procedures manual.

The university’s mission states that all departments should be committed to offering an equitable opportunity for all student-athletes to participate in the NCAA. It is evident that the issue of equal opportunity trickles down from the mission of the university. This implies that the athletics department should adhere to the regulations of Title IX. The President of the university has the control and responsibility of the athletics program via his designee. In addition, all employees of the athletics department shall act with sportsmanship and honesty at all times. All student-athletes are required to conduct themselves in a respectful way during practices, team travel and field of play at all times. The head coaches are responsible for scheduling all out of the conference games. Such games might be scheduled based on the team budget. In order to adhere to Title IX, teams need to place three people to a room when travelling. The Wilmington Intercollegiate athletics is majorly concerned with the safety, health and welfare of student-athletes participating in programs and representing the university in competitive athletics.

Conclusion

It is apparent that all policy and procedures manuals highlight the mission and vision statement of the athletics department. Some of the issues included in a P&P manual include government authority, department staff, general employment policy, new hire information, purchasing, equipment control, athletics facilities, student-athlete services, student-athlete recruiting, student-athlete financial aid, student-athlete eligibility, student-athlete academics, student-athlete medical, and travel policy and procedures. The organizational and administrative structure of athletics department includes administrators, coaches, and student-athletes.

References

Athletic Training. (2013). Western Michigan University athletic training professional program: Policy & procedure manual. Michigan: Western Michigan University.
Athletics Department of Cleveland University. (2012). Policy and procedure manual.
Athletics Department of Southeastern Louisiana University. (2000). Athletics policies & procedures manual. Louisiana: Southeastern Louisiana University.
Athletics Department of Wilmington University. (2011). Wilmington University athletics department policies and procedures manual. Wilmington: Wilmington University.
Gentile, D. (2011). Teaching sport management: A practical guide. New York: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Lopiano, D., & Zotos, C. (2013). Athletic director’s desk reference. New York: Human Kinetics.