How to Prepare Head Coaches for Head Coach Responsibilities

Kelleigh Irwin Fagan

Author: Kelleigh Irwin Fagan

POST DATE: 9.9.19
Ccha  Sports Law

Head coaches are presumed responsible for the actions of individuals under their umbrella at the collegiate level. This is no longer a new or foreign concept. For coaches, it can be challenging to assess and manage NCAA compliance risk areas while trying to build a winning program.

Compliance administrators are responsible for managing the risks of the institution as a whole while coaches are generally responsible for the monitoring and promotion of compliance within their own programs. However, these two buckets are not mutually exclusive and administrators can help head coaches take steps in the right direction towards monitoring and promoting compliance within their own programs.

Responsibility Umbrella

Coaches need to identify individuals for whom he or she is responsible. That list could include:

  1. Assistant coaches and director of operations
  2. Assistant AD for sport
  3. Strength and conditioning staff/Sports medicine staff
  4. Video coordinator and managers
  5. Administrative assistants; and
  6. Student-athletes

Create a Plan

Talk the talk. Coaches should set the proper tone within their programs by underscoring that compliance with NCAA rules is a top priority for the program. Coaches should encourage their staff to build relationships with the compliance office by. Coaches can set this example for their staff by inviting compliance office staff to attend coaching staff meetings and by asking timely questions.

Walk the walk. Coaches should draft a plan that helps him or her monitor the tangible steps taken to promote an atmosphere of compliance. It’s not enough just to talk about how important NCAA compliance is, a coach should be able to demonstrate how he or she took affirmative steps to monitor for NCAA rules compliance.

Action Item examples:

  1. Identify and discuss relevant and timely risk issues to staff and sport
  2. Include specific compliance updates as an agenda item for regular coaches/staff and team meetings and request staff keep you informed of compliance matters
  3. Require designee to attend annual student-athlete compliance orientation
  4. Update team rules annually

Head Coaches Set the Expectation

While it is impossible for the head coach to know everything that is going on in a program, the NCAA expects head coaches to set the expectation for the individuals under his or her umbrella that compliance with NCAA rules is a top priority. Having concrete action items in place that he or she diligently follows can be immensely helpful if an institution or a program ever comes under NCAA scrutiny and may help avoid a charge of Head Coach Responsibility. CCHA attorneys have the perspective and knowledge to guide clients through the emerging compliance issues in the collegiate sports industry. Contact our CCHA Sports Law practice for more information.