Coaching Association Participation Expands - Creates Need for Greater Say in Governance of Individual Sports
The Sport Act of 1978 created autonomous governing bodies for each participating Olympic sport. Through this Sport Act, the sport of track and field was organized into first the Athletics Congress and presently into USA Track & Field. Title IX, the women’s equality provision, was a tremendous impetus to the development and expansion of coaching associations. For instance, the volleyball coaches association has grown to (1,000 members) and softball/baseball (3,000 members). School based track and field is the largest participatory sport in the United States. 1.2 million scholastic cross country and track and field athletes participate, and this number grows to 1.5 million when the collegiate ranks are added to the mix.
One of the missions of our nation’s sport leaders must be to help the major choices made in each of our sports become more representative. Presently, major decisions affecting our sports lack grass roots coaches’ representation. Moreover high school and community college coaches have little membership representation in our governing bodies. Basically, a goal for our new millennium is to have our governing bodies be strengthened by allowing the coaches to have a greater degree of representation in the decisions that affect their sport. The leadership in each of our sporting federations will be greatly enhanced by allowing the coaches of the sport to vote on major decisions. Representation is at the heart of our democratic process. When coaches themselves make decisions such as i.e.: who coaches our national teams, what disciplines need to be emphasized, and how our development funds are dispersed, a greater synergy will develop among our associations members.
When there is greater participation by coaches who perceive their voice heard on decisions that affect the future of their sports, the entire fabric of our sporting bodies will begin to reflect the vision, which the Sporting Act of 1978 embodied. The United States Track Coaches Association is poised for this development as we move ourselves into the 21st Century.