1. Examine our policies and practices to determine how well we are communicating our standards and expectations for appropriate behavior by our student-athletes, beginning with recruiting and continuing through competition at Missouri State.
The standards and expectations for appropriate behavior are being communicated by the coaches to the student-athletes in an appropriate manner. Some, but not all, head coaches reported the use of written policies related to behavioral expectations and associated sanctions for student-athlete violations of behavioral standards. However, we believe that there is a need for more coordination of standards and expectations at the departmental level.
Responses from head coaches indicated prospects are thoroughly screened for character traits that meet Missouri State standards. In addition to observing a prospect in competition, Missouri State coaches reported meeting with high school coaches, club coaches, teachers, guidance counselors, and visiting the parents of prospective students in the home in an effort to recruit prospects that conform to the standard of character desired by Missouri State.
Student-athletes reported that Missouri State’s standards and expectations for appropriate behavior are communicated verbally, and in writing, by head coaches, assistant coaches, and staff. The student-athletes also reported that the standards and expectations are emphasized throughout the academic year, both during the season of competition as well as the off season.
Some of the exemplary practices of which the panel became aware were an acclimation period preceding the beginning of practice season; senior leadership for setting standards of behavior and discipline; team codes of ethics; and education sessions which cover alcohol possession/consumption, Missouri State’s judicial system, academic requirements, and presentations by campus security and local attorneys.
Although several student-athletes reported they were not intimately familiar with on-campus recruiting rules, they indicated that appropriate standards of decorum as well as NCAA rules were reviewed by their coach prior to the hosting of prospects on official visits.
Athletes should be better informed about the University’s Code of Students Rights and Responsibilities and the importance of complying with all University policies.
- The Pledge of Ethical Conduct form, being developed by the Missouri State University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), or a similar Code of Conduct, should be reviewed with each student-athlete and signed by each student-athlete at the beginning of each semester. At the time the form is read and signed, the head coach should strongly emphasize the standard of behavior expected by each student-athlete at Missouri State.
- The Department of Athletics, with input from all coaches, should review and revise the “Guidelines for Conduct” (Appendix A) to address behavioral concerns that may not be currently addressed.
- All coaches should hold an orientation session with student-athletes shortly after arrival on campus. In addition, an orientation session should be held for all freshmen and/or new transfer student-athletes involved in the summer “bridge” program in the first week they are on campus.
- The Department of Athletics should develop a best-practices guide for recruiting prospects.
- Coaches should assure that student-athletes read and sign the Official Visit Guidelines form (Appendix B) and the Student Host Receipt/Instructions form (Appendix C) prior to hosting prospects on an official visit to campus. Copies of both forms should be forwarded to the Athletics Compliance Office with the original maintained in the prospect’s file.
- Each coach should develop written standards of conduct and provide the standards to the student-athletes each year. The written standards should include, but not be limited to, alcohol use, tobacco use, drug use, personal conduct, and expectations of behavior. Additionally a copy should be provided to the Director of Athletics.