The following is an A-through-Z of reasons why every board of education member, superintendent and principal should strongly encourage and financially support the attendance of their athletic directors at the 2019 National Athletic Directors Conference (NADC), which will be held Friday through Tuesday, December 13- 17, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland, located directly across the Potomac River from Washington D.C.
This year’s NADC, which is cosponsored by the NFHS and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), is the 50th conference.
For a complete listing of the conference schedule, professional development seminars, educational workshops and special learning events, along with information on registration, hotel, exhibitors and post-grad college credit opportunities, visit www.adconference.org.
A – Awards Luncheon
On Monday, December 16, at 11:45 a.m., learn best practices from the strategies that have been used by NFHS honorees with decades of experience serving the needs of their schools and student- athletes with regard to all aspects of the operation of interscholastic athletics programs.
B – Banquet
On Tuesday, December 17, at 6:00 p.m., network with athletic administrators from across the country regarding the most effective solutions to the pressing issues in school sports programs and benefit from the inspirational lessons to be learned from NIAAA award recipients.
C – Congregate & Collaborate: Issues Networking Session
On Monday, December 16, at 3:45 p.m., participate in breakout discussions with attendees from schools with enrollments similar to yours (less than 400; 401-800; 801-1300; 1301-2000; 2000+) regarding common challenges and best standards of practice for similar-size institutions.
D – District of Columbia Networking Opportunities
Throughout the conference, attendees may use windows of free time to schedule events easily accessible directly across the river in D.C. that might prove useful to your school, athletic program or teaching, including meetings with U.S. Senators or Representatives from your home jurisdiction or meet-and-greets with influencers at federal administrative agencies.
E – Early Bird NADC Activities
On Friday, December 13, beginning at 11:00 a.m., for athletic directors involved in or wishing to become more active in school sports leadership and professional development activities at the national and state levels, a full day of events is scheduled, along with a first-time NADC offering on Friday evening of two of the most in-demand LTC courses every year: the flagship class 501 and the introductory legal issues course 504.
F – Forum Networking Session
On Tuesday, December 17 at Noon, eat a box lunch while learning in breakout forums organized by the role of the attendees in their schools as either a district AD, building AD, middle school AD, private school AD, rural AD, urban AD or novice AD.
G – Give & Take Pod Networking Session
On Monday, December 16, at 8:00 a.m., participate in roundtable, brainstorming sessions organized by topics common to school athletic programs nationwide, many of which address student-athlete health and safety issues or other program-operation and leadership challenges typically faced by athletic administrators.
H – Hot Topic Session
On Tuesday, December 17, at 9:30 a,m,, attend a session moderated by speakers discussing the most pressing contemporary challenges facing school sports programs across the country and the solutions to those issues that have been found to be the most effective.
I – International AD Association Activities
Participate in professional development and learning activities targeted at athletic directors working outside the United States, either at schools in Canada that are part of affiliate-member organizations or at U.S.-military-affiliated institutions around the world, including, for example, the International Mentoring AD Hoc Committee meeting at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 16, and the Monday, December 16, 1:45 p.m. workshop on the unique role of the international coach.
J – Join the Ranks Of Certified Athletic Administrators
Complete the requirements and prerequisite LTC courses to earn RAA, RMSAA, CAA and CMAA certifications, along with attending the CAA exam review session (Sunday, December 15 at 8:00 a.m.), and taking the CAA exam itself (Tuesday, December 17 at 9:00 a.m.).
K – Keynote Speakers
At the Opening General Session on Saturday, December 14 at 5:00 p.m., learn from the perspective of Dr. Adolph Brown, III on the topics of educational leadership and strategies for reducing implicit bias in America’s K-12 schools and at the Closing General Session on Tuesday, December 17, at 1:15 p.m., listen to the inspiring story of Kevin Laue, the first player missing a limb (left hand and forearm) to play NCAA Division I basketball and his message regarding the benefits of participation in high school sports related to overcoming physical challenges.
L – Leadership Training Institute Courses
Enroll in one or more of the 50, four-hour seminar courses offered in five time slots throughout the NADC, from Foundation classes to Operations and Management courses to Leadership seminars to International Athletic Program Administration offerings, most of which were created and added to the curriculum at the request of athletic directors across the country seeking guidance on common challenges confronted in school athletic programs. For a complete listing of courses, along with detailed descriptions, visit www.adconference.org/professional-development.
M – Mentorship Opportunities
Interact and learn from athletic directors who are among the national and state leaders in athletic administration and seek out those with expertise regarding the trending issues most prevalent in your sports program or geographic locale.
N – NIAAA Sports Facilities Educational Seminar
On Saturday, December 14, from 8:00 a.m. to Noon, attend the NIAAA Sports Facilities Educational Seminar, addressing all aspects of the management and operation of school sports venues, with the focus being on strategies for maintaining safe, reliable and sustainable athletics facilities within a reasonable budget (breakfast included, pre-registration required and advance choice necessary of the five mini-sessions you choose to attend from eight options).
O – Opening General Session
On Saturday, December 14 at 5:00 p.m., in addition to listening to and learning from the keynote speaker Dr. Brown (see above), begin the process of taking advantage of the extensive networking opportunities provided throughout the NADC by meeting and interacting with athletic administration colleagues from across the country.
P – Presentation Materials
Every seminar, workshop and special session offered throughout the conference provides extensive handouts and other materials, either in a hard copy or digital format, to support attendees in building their personal libraries of resources useful in managing and leading the athletic programs at their schools and for in-servicing their athletic personnel, including coaches, athletic trainers and others involved in the operation of their sports programs.
Q – Q & A
Every seminar, workshop and special session offered throughout the conference provides time for questions from attendees and answers from presenters in order to allow athletic directors to inquire about contemporary, trending issues in their school or locale, questions that typically turn out to be challenges facing a significant percentage of the audience members in the room at any given event.
R – Retired Athletic Directors
Among the most valuable mentorship and networking opportunities available at the NADC are interactions with retired athletic administrators possessing decades of experience in dealing with all aspects of school athletic programs and who provide one of the best resources for active athletic directors seeking input and guidance from the trailblazers in their profession. On Tuesday, December 17 at 9:00 a.m., the Retired ADs Breakfast will be held with the accumulated wealth of knowledge of these individuals accessible in one room at one time.
S – Sports Law Year-in-Review
On Tuesday, December 17 at 10:45 a.m., a session will be held at which a comprehensive overview will be provided of the year’s federal and state court case decisions, legislative enactments, administrative agency rulings and other legal pronouncements relevant to the operation of school athletic programs. This is a must-attend session for anyone attending the NADC.
T – Talking & Trading Sessions
On Saturday, December 14 at 11:00 a.m., a forum will be held featuring breakout sessions dealing with contemporary topics of the greatest concern for interscholastic sports, with each breakout facilitated by a moderator who will both present information to and encourage discussion of best strategies by attendees. Participants may remain with one topic for the entire hour or move freely among multiple breakouts in the room.
U – U.S. Capital City Sightseeing
Throughout the conference, attendees may use windows of free time to take advantage of the extensive range of sightseeing options in our nation’s capital city, including organized bus or walking tours and visits to D.C.’s many monuments and memorials, any of the 17 Smithsonian museums, the U.S. Capitol building, the Supreme Court building, the Library of Congress, the new (2016) National Museum of African American History and Culture, Arlington National Cemetery, the Holocaust Museum, the Kennedy Center, any of the city’s many art galleries and museums and many other sites of historical or educational significance.
V – Vendors
Throughout the NADC, attendees will have the opportunity to attend the only national show exclusively designed to showcase for interscholastic athletic directors the latest products, emerging technologies and trending services relating to all areas of school sports and activities, organized to provide the greatest cost-savings or revenue-producing strategies for schools.
W – Workshop Sessions
Distributed across five, one-hour time slots throughout the conference are 40 workshops addressing highly-focused issues of concern to athletic directors, ranging from topics related to the health and safety of student-athletes, to creation of a positive parent culture, to best strategies for coaching coaches, to mental health issues confronting students, to better managing booster clubs, to creating esports programs, to combating hazing in athletics programs, and many more (for a complete listing of workshop dates and times, visit www.adconference.org/schedule.
X – Xmas Tours of the White House
For one of the most memorable D.C. sightseeing activities, take a tour of the White House with all of its public rooms decorated for the holidays, with these seasonal tours being the only ones of the year in which visitors may take pictures while inside the building (tours must be arranged in advance through the office of one of your Senators or Representatives).
Y – Young AD Activities
The conference provides an unparalleled professional development opportunity for novice athletic directors who may find themselves overwhelmed by the unexpectedly wide and intense range of responsibilities associated with leading a school’s athletic program, from a session for first time NADC attendees on Saturday, December 14 at 10:00 a.m., to numerous LTI courses and conference workshops targeted specifically at athletic directors with only a year or two’s experience on the job.
Z – Zero in On Issues Relevant to Your School
The exceptionally broad range of courses, workshops and learning opportunities offered at the NADC allows each attendee to customize the experience to address the concerns most pressing for the athletic program at her or his school and to return home after the conference with an extensive set of best strategies and standards of practices for dealing with those issues.
Lee Green is an attorney and Professor Emeritus at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, where for 30 years he taught courses in sports law, business law and constitutional law. He is a member of the High School Today Publications Committee. He may be contacted at Lee.Green@BakerU.Edu.