Ohio continues with next phase of InsideOut Initiative to combat “Win-at-All Costs” sports mentality


News Journal Report



COLUMBUS – Ohio is continuing this week with the next phase of the InsideOut Initiative, which is focused on transforming the culture of the high school “win-at-all-costs” mentality.

The initiative, which has the support of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA), National Football League Foundation and other local and national organizations, takes a critical look at interscholastic athletics by encouraging a system that focuses on the development of the educational, social and emotional well-being of each student-athlete.

Discussion on the initiative was held at one-day forums sponsored by the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, where school teams comprised of a small group of coaches and administrators will be trained to create a school-specific implementation action plan to help reclaim the educational purpose of sports. Approximately 130 coaches and administrators representing 40 different high schools in Ohio were expected to attend the forum in Cleveland, while another 115 coaches and administrators representing 35 different high schools in the state and a few in Indiana and Kentucky signed up to be part of the conference in Cincinnati.

In October, Ohio became one of the first states to launch this initiative, thanks to comprehensive funding from the National Football League Foundation. In the Columbus suburb of Dublin, the OHSAA, OIAAA and NFL Foundation hosted approximately 90 leaders in the educational and sports communities to discuss the initiative and plan for its implementation.

First piloted by the NFL in Colorado and Texas in 2015, the InsideOut Initiative encourages educational leaders, state athletic associations and local NFL teams to partner together to address the brokenness of the sports culture since, without intentional leaders, coaches and supportive communities, sports are more likely to undermine the development of the very character it claims to build. The initiative is engaging stakeholders in strategic conversation to re-define the role of interscholastic sports in the lives of students and communities.

“This initiative is something that we have talked about for several years, and now we’re seeing it come to fruition,” said Dan Ross, Commissioner of the OHSAA. “This is needed in today’s society and will help us reemphasize what the real purpose is of our interscholastic athletic programs, which is to provide educational opportunities. We’re certainly pleased that the InsideOut Initiative is in Ohio and will provide guidance for our schools.”

“We are excited to engage key educational leaders and sports organizations from across the state of Ohio in a conversation that reinforces the purpose of education-based athletics,” said Jody Redman, a former college athlete and current high school athletics/activities association associate director and co-founder of the InsideOut Initiative along with Joe Ehrmann, a former pro football player and current educator and the author of InsideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives. “The goal is to win – we play, plan and prepare to win every game – but this isn’t the purpose of education-based athletics. The purpose is the human growth and development of the inner lives of students and connecting them to caring adults in their school communities.”

In addition to the OHSAA, OIAAA and National Football League Foundation, the initiative also has support from the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA); the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA); the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA), and the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators (OAESA).

More details about the InSideOut Initiative can be found at http://www.insideoutinitiative.org/.

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News Journal Report