Monday, February 23, 2009

The original idea

Many parents and fans sit and watch a high school sporting event and wonder why some players are left on the bench while others are shown more playing time. Parents and players are afraid to ask those types of questions to coaches or Athletic Directors because they are afraid to have a negative influence on their child’s playing time. So they sit there each game and become more frustrated, feeling that there is nothing they can do about it, or just accept it as “the way it has always been done.” We are beginning a grass roots effort to change the way high school sports are played and coached.

The ‘Every Player, Every Game’ campaign has as its’ basic premise that every player, in every sports program, should get the opportunity to play in every game. We would like to establish a minimum playing requirement that would require all coaches, on all teams to get ALL of their players in the game for a preset minimum amount of playing time. Teams are formed for the players, and each player should be rewarded for their hard work in practice and contributions to the team. Therefore, every player on every team should be allowed to play.

Coaches too often feel that their job is to provide a winning program for their school and they are often judged by that standard. But the NYSPHSAA Code of Ethics clearly states “that an athletic contest is only a game........not a matter of life or death for player, coach, school, official, fan, community, state or nation.” Coaches can be influenced by external factors, just like anyone else. Sometimes those outside influences lead to bad decisions about players and their time in the game. If there are minimum playing time standards, then coaches will have to give every player the opportunity to play. It will make coaches responsible for coaching the entire team, not just a select few. It will mean that coaches must learn to more effectively manage their players during each game and play them when each player could be most productive.

We encourage you to contact your school’s Athletic Director and tell them that you support the idea of “Every Player, Every Game”. Furthermore, you can also contact the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) board members, whose email addresses are listed on their website cited below, and let them know you want Every Player in Every Game. The NYSPHSAA board sets all the rules for all high school sports programs in New York State. They have the ability to change the way high school sports operate and can help us to get the rules changed. Please read the attached 2008-2009 Code of Ethics from the NYSPHSAA website,, and see how well your high school athletics program meets these ideals. Comments can also be sent to the board’s executive director, Nina Van Erk at

Your high school athlete will thank you for it.

The following is the introductory paragraph from the NYSPHSAA Handbook.

“We are pleased to present you with the 2008-2010 edition of the HANDBOOK of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc. Clarification of, and changes in, the regulations and standards are indicated by shading.
We encourage you to supply copies of the HANDBOOK to all your coaches. Knowing only the game rules of a sport is not enough to protect student eligibility. We also recommend again that rule reprints be made available at preseason meetings for athletes and their parents to ensure knowledge of the rules.
We cannot emphasize enough that the rules and regulations in the HANDBOOK are your standards, developed as the result of your input. We ask your support in the partnership of enforcing these rules and regulations. Each of us must take that responsibility seriously. We know that by working together we can ensure that our students will experience equitable and safe athletic participation.”

Listed below is the Code of Ethics from the NYSPHSAA Handbook.



1. To emphasize the proper ideals of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and
fair play.

2. To eliminate all possibilities which tend to destroy the best values of
the game.

3. To stress the values derived from playing the game fairly.

4. To show cordial courtesy to visiting teams and officials.

5. To establish a happy relationship between visitors and hosts.

6. To respect the integrity and judgment of the sports officials.

7. To achieve a thorough understanding and acceptance of the rules of the
game and standards of eligibility.

8. To encourage leadership, use of incentive, and good judgment by the
players on the team.

9. To recognize that the purpose of athletics is to promote the physical,
mental, moral, social, and emotional well-being of the individual players.

10. To remember that an athletic contest is only a game........not a matter
of life or death for player, coach, school, official, fan, community, state
or nation.