By Jakob Ronimous
Many students who graduate high school go on to attend college as a student athlete, including students from WCHS. However, recently there has been a debate over the treatment of college athletes, such as the case of Jordan McNair, who died of heatstroke during a forced running session. His coach, D. J. Durkin, was dismissed, but returned 80 days later and continues to coach for the same team. The lack of any consequences is what really sparked the debate around coach abuse and the NCAA.
According to the NCAA website, “Nearly eight million students currently participate in high school athletics in the United States.” And while many of these students never have to come into contact with coaches who use questionable methods to train their students, there are those who will have to deal with that. The NCAA has given small apologies after incidents of coach abuse come to light. Sometimes they don’t even comment on it, or refuse to issue any harsh punishments for the coaches. Ken Sears, the athletic director at WCHS, spoke about this.
“I think the NCAA tries to protect their students much like the IHSAA attempts to protect their student-athletes,” Sears said.
If the NCAA isn’t there to protect their student athletes, then many people will begin to look at the laws in place to protect these students. The laws that protect people in general do help in a lot of cases, but there are a few legal gray areas where abusive coaches could possibly slip through the cracks of the laws. Many others argue that too much regulation on coaches could lead to unneeded restriction on coaches. Sears shared his thoughts on this.
“I think there are sufficient laws in place. The difficulty comes when a coaches abuses their power. It is our job as adults to ensure our students are protected and our students are safe,” Sears said
In some sports, the line between training and abuse is different. In wrestling, students normally have physical contact with their coaches, making the line much different from a sport like baseball or basketball. Senior wrestler Ryan Glithero explained his thoughts on abuse in wrestling.
“I don’t see there being abuse. I think college coaches know what it takes to win and push their athletes to do so,” Glithero said.
And even on a high school level, there are rules not involving the NCAA. Unlike the NCAA, there isn’t much controversy around the organization, as they do a much better job at clearly stating the rules, and overall making it much easier for coaches to be punished if they step over their boundaries. Darrin Fisher, the head football coach at WCHS, explains.
“The IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletic Association) adopts the rules of the NFHS and decides how to enforce them by passing by-laws for each sport stating the rules we must play by. NCAA rules and regulations do not apply to coaches at the high school level,” Fisher said.
NCAA has rules in place to protect their student athletes, but there will always be some individuals who abuse their power in some way. However, new rules put in place by the NCAA will severely limit the possibility of loopholes.