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.