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Supervision of open gyms and the conducting of physical fitness programs are not considered as organizational or instructional contact.  Thus, this type of activity is not governed by the OHSAA rules that are specified as “Instructional Program” regulations or Bylaw 10: “Non-Interscholastic Teams” in the OHSAA Handbook. 

However, during an open gym or other facility, either at a member school facility or a non-member school facility, coaching staff members may have NO organizational or instructional contact with participants.  Likewise, attendance cannot be mandatory, no scoring or timekeeping is permitted, and the supervisor may not participate in designating who is to play on which teams.  NOTE: It is NOT a violation for the coach or other adult supervisor to participate as a player in an open gym as long as the adult does not coach the students. 

Also, watching an open gym does not count as one of the 10 “contact days” that school coaches are permitted during June and July.  However, a coaching staff member who is either supervising the open facility or has simply shown up to watch must be certain that he or she has not been involved in organizing competition between two schools who just happen to appear at the “open” facility.
One of the most important responsibilities each interscholastic coach in the Lake Local system has is oversight of the safety and security of each student-athlete.  To provide our coaches the maximum amount of supportive and current documentation about each student, we need to consistently insure that our data is accurate.  The best way we know of how that information remains accurate is to have students and parents review and provide updated data.
Although there are certainly many areas involving a student’s safety, health and personal data that does remain the same from season-to-season and year-to-year, we never want to assume things are “the same as before”.  Although there is the chance of our being redundant on some of the paperwork requests, we have come to believe that we would rather err on the side of cautiousness than to make an assumption that could impact a child’s health or safety.

Additionally, we are aware that in today’s world, data changes more often than in the past.  In particular, health insurance coverage, health care personnel and specialists and even personal (parent/guardian/student) phone numbers and e-mail addresses change within the school year.  The best way we have found to minimize incorrect data is to have this critical paperwork updated seasonally.

It should be noted that Pre-Participation Exams (or “Physicals”) are good for 12 months from the date of the exam.  For multiple sport athletes, a physical completed in June, July or August will be good for the entire school year (12-month) period.
Beginning in 2007, Lake Local Schools was the very first district in Ohio to require all of its coaches (paid and volunteer) to complete a series of requirements that exceeded state standards for interscholastic coaches.  In addition to a background check (BCI/FBI fingerprinting), a valid CPR card and a current Sports Medicine training class, Lake Local coaches additionally completed a nationally developed course titled “Fundamentals of Coaching”.  This course was developed by the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) which is the governing body for interscholastic athletics (i.e., school sports) in the United States.  This acclaimed course was taught directly to each Lake coach and has continued to be a requirement for every Board of Education-approved coaching hire in the LLSD.

In November of 2008, the Ohio Department of Education, with the collaboration of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) approved a state-wide requirement which included the same criteria as the LLSD parameters.  Since January 1, 2009, all Ohio interscholastic coaches are required to have a valid “Pupil Activity Permit” (PAP) which is issued by the Ohio Department of Education.  To receive a PAP (which is valid for three year cycles), a coach must complete a recognized Sports Medicine update class, hold a valid CPR card, complete a BCI/FBI background check and have completed the “Fundamentals of Coaching” course.

This accreditation process for coaches parallels the certification process for classroom teachers.  Although not as broad as the teachers’ certification scope of training, the current PAP licensure process does address critical expectations that are appropriate for education-based athletics.  School sports are not the same as club, travel, AAU, JO, personalized instruction and other types of sport training in the current landscape.  Rather, school sports have a specific mission and vision that is oriented to extending the same objectives in the academic classroom onto the playing fields.  Interscholastic coaches, therefore, have a different purpose and mission and should receive training that parallels those goals.
(Note: Parts of this response are excerpts from an article written by Joe Santa, CAA, Warsaw HS in Indiana).
School-based coaches understand that talented athletes bring to the table fantastic skills, a competitive spirit and a drive to succeed.  When a sport program loses an athlete, the potential success for a team takes a hit.  Unfortunately, many athletes today are making the decision to specialize at younger ages.  Often, these decisions are not being made based upon the wants and needs of the athlete, but are upon pressure from outside influences including non-school (AAU, club, Junior-Olympics) team coaches, parents and unfortunately, other high school coaches who push the athletes into making this tough decision.
Many times when the decision is made to specialize, it has a negative effect on a multitude of people including the program(s), teammates, and coaches who have to make up for the loss of a key teammate.  Higher skilled athletes, in many cases, have been told by numerous people—most of whom don’t have the overall well-being of the student at heart—that they need to “concentrate on one sport so they can secure scholarship money they will need to attend college” and that college coaches are not going to notice them in high school competition.
Driven by this skewed belief, parents will often invest in private lessons,  emphasize playing more games in one sport and spending thousands of dollars for camps and schools for the purpose of achieving a college athletic scholarship.  Sound research over many years shows that there is a low probability of attaining a full athletic scholarship or athletic monies of any amount.  Less than one-percent (1%) of high school students will receive an athletic scholarship; there is much greater likelihood of a student receiving financial aid or scholarships based upon academic prowess or financial need than for skills from a particular sport.
Adding to the “reality of recruiting”, more and more college coaches are looking for young people that stayed involved in more than one high school sport.  Research also indicates that high school students who specialize are more likely to be those that burn out in college or simply lose the competitive edge needed at a higher level.  College coaches are now indicating that they like to see competitiveness that comes from being a multiple-sport athlete.  Multiple sport students find themselves in more pressure situations during varied sport competitions and learn to successfully handle these situations.
  • Other advantages that research has identified as benefits of multi-sport participation:
  • Less likelihood of “overuse” injuries due to sport specialization (e.g., stress fractures, compartment syndromes, and joint injuries).
  • Less mental stress from becoming tired of doing something over and over again (i.e., sport fatigue).
  • Multi-sport participation tends to lead to better conditioning, better balance and coordination (due to use of variety of muscle groups vs. same-sport muscle groups).
  • Skill development as student ages (MS through HS) tends to improve at a faster rate due to transferable motor skills.
  • Provides broad scope of life lessons through multi-sport opportunities (Microsoft executive, Lisa Brummel:  “If you only do what you are best at all of the time, you won’t learn how to deal with situations and skills that are real challenges.  You could become isolated and focused upon only one thing which will not benefit you later in life”).
There is no question that the decision to participate in multiple sports takes incredible commitment and collaboration on the part of many (the student, the parents and the coaches).  The rewards, over time, tend to provide those who choose to engage in multi-sports with a much richer and potentially healthier experience.
Click the following two links for responses provided by "High Schools Today" agazine.

By Ohio Revised Code (ORC), public school districts may only allocate up to .5% (1/2 of 1%) of their General Budget for athletics.  That means that any non-transportation or non-stipend athletic expenses have a limit on what school districts can cover cost-wise.  In the case of Lake Local, our Board of Education has expected the athletic department to be 100% self-sufficient with all of these type of expenses.  There are no General Budget monies utilized for Athletic Department operations annually. Therefore, all costs associated with items such as game officials, uniforms, coaching clinics, equipment, tournament fees and event personnel (ticket takers, ticket sellers, police/security, etc.) must be covered by the other revenue sources.
                The Lake athletic department develops an annual budget to cover the costs of operations for athletics through two primary revenue sources:  gate receipts (about 85% of revenue) and Lake Athletic Booster Club donations (about 15% annually).  These are the only sources of financial support for our athletic operations each school year.  We are fortunate in that we have well-attended events and also a Booster Club that develops several successful fund-raising activities each school year to provide this necessary financial support for our students.


Starting with the 2011-2012 school year, our district implemented a new calendar program called “Tandem”.  This program now allows you to access not only the current game/contest schedule for your child’s team, but will also indicate bus departure times (for those events your child’s team travels), driving directions to “away” sites along with other valuable athletic information.
Other great features of this program will allow you to:
·         Download your schedule(s) to your smartphone
·         Copy schedules and information using a QR reader app (from your smartphone)
·         Copy and download events to your electronic calendar (Cozi, Outlook, Google or iCal)
To learn more about Tandem and to get connected to your child’s athletic information, go to the following link:


There are several factors impacting this phenomenon.  A big part has been the sales job that club programs have given parents; often times, the mantra from these businesses is, “If you specialize and become a member of the club team, we’ll make sure your child gets a college scholarship.”  The reality is these groups can not guarantee that type of thing, nor do the statistics bear out the type of success rates often promoted.  Unfortunately, many parents “drink the Kool-Aid” and buy the sales pitch. 

Statistically, for every athletic scholarship provided, there are 70 academic scholarships awarded.  Only $20 out of every $100 of scholarship monies awarded by colleges and universities is athletic-based.  The odds are that a student has an easier time receiving an academic scholarship than an athletic grant-in-aid.
From an early age, parents are being sold a bill of goods and often lose sight of other very relevant facts.  Go and “Google” the biographies of many of the NFL, MLB or NBA players.  It’s amazing how many major league shortstops were the quarterback on their high school football team, or a point guard in basketball.  There is a reason for that…..they are great athletes who love to compete and win.  Participating in that second or third sport not only makes the student more well-rounded, but also helps in maintaining good attendance and grades.
As Lake teacher-coaches, we certainly don’t want to “burst any bubbles” when it comes to dreaming big!  In fact, we’ve had our share of successful student-athletes who have graduated from Lake High School and gone on to another level of competition beyond high school.  Our coaches will do whatever they can to assist college coaches and parents in providing the best base of personal and physical skills to develop a highly productive young adult.  But, we also want to provide the reality of all situations.

At Lake, our coaches continue to support multi-sport participation and celebrate those who want to stretch their limits in becoming the best they can become.  Our “Tri-Athlete Award” provided in the spring of each year, along with collaboration among our coaches provides an ideal setting for Lake High School students to achieve more today and become high-quality successes tomorrow!


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436 King Church Avenue SW  |  Uniontown, Ohio 44685
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