Coaching Confusion a Hot Topic at Clearfield

CLEARFIELD – With the resignation of Dan Putt, elementary football coach for the Clearfield Area School District, came many questions about how coaching staff are paid and assigned.

Listed as “elementary coach” in three positions, Putt left the board members wondering how one person holds three positions.

At Monday night’s board meeting, Superintendent Denise Keltz asked for clarification on the issue as well as direction from the board on how this should be handled in the future.

In previous years the board had assigned a number of coaching positions to each sport based on the athlete- to-coach ratio. The head coach of each sport has been designated, through contract, the flexibility to use these coaches as they see necessary.

In many sports head coaches often allow one person to hold more than one position. This person is then assigned to help as a junior varsity or varsity assistant coach. The combined pay of the three assigned positions gives a fair compensation for the coach’s time in his assigned position. The coaching staff then volunteers to cover the original positions for which the coach was hired.

As an example, Putt held three elementary football coaching positions. The actual assignment Putt held was assistant on a high school team. When elementary football gathered, the entire coaching team pitched in to make sure the events were covered.

Discussion included the contention that the head coaches are using the given budget and the flexibility they have been granted to see that their sport is properly coached from the elementary through the varsity level.

After discussion a few questions remain.

Who is liable in the event that there is an injury or disaster during a practice or sporting event and the coach that was hired for the position is not actually present?

How does the board know who is actually coaching each group of athletes?

Is there a conflict between what is happening and what the contract states?

Are there any potential Title IX violations where male and female athletes may not be receiving equal coaching benefits?

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions. The law requires educational institutions to maintain policies, practices and programs that do not discriminate against anyone based on sex. Under this law, males and females are expected to receive fair and equal treatment in all arenas of public schooling including athletics.

The board has asked the solicitor to look into any potential Title IX and contractual issues. The other issues have been tabled until the spring when the board will take a closer look at the actual distribution of coaches and reconsider any policy changes.

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