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West Jordan Journal

State bill proposed to help athletic directors’ continued education

Jan 27, 2022 01:44PM ● By Greg James

By Greg James | [email protected] 

Twenty minutes before the West Jordan High School basketball game, Carlson Boudreaux is checking to make sure the referees are set in the locker room so the game can start on time. His team has the court set up with chairs, music and cheerleader entertainment. 

Over the past decade, the job of being the school's athletic director has changed. They now oversee more than just game setup. Certification of athletic directors enhances administrators' ability to better serve the school and community. 

“Twenty years ago being an AD was mainly game-day operations,” Copper Hills Athletic Director Ben Morley said. “Making sure officials show up, the scorer table is set up, ensuring the halftime performance and scheduling the busses—now that is the easiest part of the job.”

Current responsibilities of school athletic administrators include much more than pregame jobs.

“The essential components of being an athletic director is managing the coaches, keeping them in compliance,” Morley said. “Related to that is keeping the athletes in compliance also.”  

All of these extra responsibilities and no additional training are necessary. The coaches they supervise need more certification than they do.

Most athletic administrators, on their own, have achieved the extra certification with no extra compensation.

State Bill 67, sponsored by Michael K McKell, proposes a supplement for the school AD to encourage the training they can receive.

“I could not be more in favor of certification,” Morley said. “The recognition and validation of this job is supremely important.”

Becoming an athletic director encompasses several duties.

Coaches and player eligibility are a big part of their jobs. 

“Coaches, assistants and players take up a lion's share of my time,” Morley said. “There is a reason that colleges have compliance officers. That is all they handle.”

At Copper Hills, the athletic department oversees more than 100 coaches and volunteers. 

“We have 26 varsity programs,” Morley said. “Football alone has 12 assistant coaches. Each of those coaches needs to pass coaching fundamentals, CPR training, background checks, concussion training and child abuse training. One of the difficulties is that many of our coaches are paraprofessionals (they do not work at the school). Many think they are just helping out the team, but they still need to pass these courses.”

In the last two years, high schools have added cheerleading, girls wrestling and lacrosse to their varsity programs. In the near future, boys volleyball could be added. In the US nearly 11 million students participate in after-school activities.

“The [certified athletic administrator] would be eligible for a salary supplement.” current Granite School District Athletic Director Chris Shipman said. “In our eight high schools, we have several that already qualify for the stipend.”

Additional training can help the student-athletes stay safe from future sports problems. 

“Name, image and likeness are coming,” Morley said. “A famous athlete that wanted to make money can if they don’t use school resources. The dark side is that it will make high school recruiting a bigger thing. One more carrot a good team can dangle in front of an athlete.”

Jordan School District recently hired an athletic director to oversee its district programs.

“I think districts are waking up to the importance of the job,” Morley said. “I teach one class but am a full-time athletic director. Our athletic staff is dedicated to the program. It is the world we live in, and we should learn how to manage it.”

This year's state legislature could help compensate those who attain better knowledge to do their jobs correctly.