The Duties, Rights, And Responsibility Of Sports Officials Essay


This discourse raises questions on the various duties, responsibilities and right of sports officials in an outline fashion. What are the contents of the general duties of coaching? Does the duty to supervise exist?  What are the various obligations a person in a coaching role be expected to meet? Are there just and fair entitlements due to a person in a coaching role? Why are there so many altercations at youth sporting events these days?

How important is it to ensure that there is a balance between the rights due to a coach and the responsibilities a coach is required to fulfill? And how will this assist coaches to meet legal obligations and community expectations, ensure the safety of participants and enjoy the work they do as a coach. The paper gave sample scenario cases gotten from personal interview with a sports official.


Coaching can be a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. Coaches have a unique opportunity to help athletes develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to improve and succeed in their sport.The role of the coach has changed considerably over the years. Increasingly, coaches are being required to deal with complex ethical issues such as sportsmanship, drugs in sport, cheating, bullying, and respect for officials, abuse of power and harassment and discrimination. As the role of the coach has become more complex and challenging, the legal and moral expectations placed on the coach have also changed considerably (Lindfelt, 1999) .It is therefore essential that coaches operate professionally and with integrity in their relationships with those who participate in or associate with their sport. Many years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States was mulling over a pornography case. One justice said he couldn’t necessarily define obscenity, but he knew it when he saw it. The same observation applies to team chemistry. When you see a team that is playing well together, having fun and—usually—winning, you’re seeing chemistry. The tricky part is trying to make it happen. No locker room in the world contains a team of totally perfect human beings. There are good guys, jerks, unconventional ones, whiners, optimists, and pessimists, tough and soft people. It’s the responsibility of the coach—and at the pro level, the general manager—to find the right mix and bake a good cake.

                                                       DUTIES OF A SPORTS OFFICIAL

 They include 1) Duty to Provide Proper Supervision ,2) Duty to Match Competitors , 3)Duty to Provide Safe Equipment and Facilities,3) Duty to Provide Health Care ,4)Duty to Protect Student Right,   5)Duty to Provide Proper Instruction, 6)Duty to Enforce Rules and Regulations , 7)Duty to Warn  , 8)Duty to Transport , 9)Duties Within Each Duty include: a)Duty to Plan ,b)Duty to Keep Records ,c)Duty to Foresee.Foreseeability is a household term found in sport related legal charges today. The courts say that a coach   is expected to be able to able to foresee the potential danger that may occur if an activity is continued in that environment, with that apparatus, or in that situation.  It is dutiful for a coach to take action to forestall the activity from continuing without correcting such problem. A foreseeable risk is a risk that a reasonable person would have expected. The territory of liability depends on whether there is foreseeable risk of injury. Conduct cannot be seen as unreasonable if the risk is not foreseeable. The test of foreseeability is foresight, and this is not a test of proximate cause, which is hindsight.

Þ    Negligence can simply be defined as failing to anticipate and remove unreasonable risk of assault

Sample Court Case is that of:

Benjamin (the interviewee) vs. State 1982

An eleven year old boy was struck in the head by a hockey puck while standing behind the player’s bench at a college hockey game. The blow resulted in serious injury and required brain surgery. The boy’s parents sued for negligence citing that there was no protective glass behind the bench to protect fans from such an incident. The court found a “foreseeable risk of injury that could have and should have been avoided” and found in favor of the boy.

When Casey Stengel was managing the New York Yankees, he said one of the most important things a baseball manager must do is “keep the five guys in the locker room who hate you away from the five guys who aren’t sure.” (Encarta, 2008). “A good way to tell if a team has chemistry Is to watch the bench in course of the game and see if the players really seem interested in what’s happening out on the field or the court”(  Stanley , 2003).  In case someone hits a home run, observe how many players instantly come to their feet to give him a handshake when returning to the dugout and what the number of those that do it begrudgingly is. You can have a championship team without perfect team chemistry, but it will be very difficult to find one without at least some. The Oakland A’s of the early 1970s had many locker-room fights, but they found unity in their resentment of team owner Charlie Finley and won three straight titles.

                                   ETHICALLY EVERY COACH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR:
Not using their involvement with the sport, a member association or an affiliated club to promote their own beliefs, behaviors or practices where these are inconsistent with those of the sport or club.

Refraining from any behaviour that may bring their sport or club into disrepute.

Providing feedback to players and other participants in a manner sensitive to their needs and avoiding overly negative feedback.

Accepting and respecting the role of officials and encouraging players to do likewise.

Maintaining and improving coaching skills and qualifications through development, training and education opportunities providing a safe environment for players and participants (including officials, parents, team and club members and opponents) that are free from discrimination, harassment and abuse. ,“Treating all players and participants fairly, with respect and dignity regardless of gender, race, and place of origin, athletic potential, color, sexual orientation, religion, political beliefs, socio-economic status and other conditions” (Ijalaye,2004, pg5), ensuring any physical contact with players is appropriate to the situation and necessary for the player’s skill development, being acutely aware of the power they have as a coach over players and the trust the players put in them, Avoiding any situations with players that could be construed as compromising, inappropriate or intimate ,developing the sporting skills, knowledge and experiences of players and participants. Ensuring they provide all athletes equal time, attention and sporting opportunities whenever possible (Kazanetal,1997).Maintaining an uncompromising adhesion to their sport’s standards, rules, regulations, codes and policies and encouraging players to do likewise. Coaches must accept both the letter and spirit of the rules. They must Understand and comply with their state child protection requirements.
In the same vein from an ethical perspective, every coach has the RIGHT to:

A safe environment free from discrimination, harassment and abuse and also to be treated fairly and with respect and dignity by players and participants (including parents, managers, officials, club members, supporters) in carrying out the duties required of a coach. In the united states the National Association of Sports Officials now offers “assault insurance” for its 19,000 members (Encarta,2008.)This is to ensure that the rights of these sports officials are adequately protected.   Yes, it really is bad out there, as any parent knows. One of the reasons is that there are so many more kids playing organized sports these days— some researches gave more than 30 million. Gone are the days of sandlot baseball, now replaced by tightly structured competition overseen by parents and coaches who all seem to believe their kids are going to become the next $15 million-a-year baseball player? There’s also the idea that cratefuls of college scholarship money are just sitting around, waiting to be claimed individuals when they graduate from high school .One truth: Most kids are playing sports for the fun of it and the odds against them playing even small-college sports are terrific. The scholarship excess supply is a myth as well. For example, “many parents are shocked  to learn that even at the top schools the best female college soccer players don’t get full rides—and must get the money they do receive sequel to good performances every season because the scholarships are renewable  annually” (Carlson and Kriston,2005). Club officials should be supportive and offer guidance, courtesy from board and staff members from the sporting community. “A free and fair process and ensuring the principles of natural justice being consistently applied, should the coach become the object of or involved in a complaint, accusation or investigation within the sport” (Foster,1993).Access to clearly articulated legal and moral standards and requirements through codes, policies, rules, regulations, guidelines and procedures manuals as defined by the sporting organisation.Training, development and educational opportunities, so that the coach’s  methods and skills and techniques remain up-to-date and effective.


Allison, L (red) The Changing Politics of Sport (Vol2 Pg56-57).

Bo Carlsson & Kristin Fransson,Youths Sports, Official Sports Policies And Children’s Right In Society

Retrieved From on Oct 3rd, 2008.

Carlsson, Bo (2004) “rottens förrättsligande”; Juridification of Sport (pg 34-35).

Dictionary Of Law (1998), Cambridge Press.

 Foster, Ken (1993) “Developments in Sporting Law. Retrieved from Oct.4th, 2008

Eitzen, Stanley D. (2003) Fair and Foul. Beyond the Myths and Paradoxes of Sport.

Ijilaye, A O (2000), An Introduction to Law and Sports (Pg 123-125).Oxford University Press.

Microsoft Encarta, 2008.