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Traffic school -- for coaches

Anyone who's gotten a speeding/traffic ticket might have been forced to go/sit/suffer through online traffic school -- which sometimes takes a legit six hours.

Well, the FHSAA announced Monday that coaches might soon face something similar. Not for their driving, but for their tempers:

Coaches who are ejected from contests because of unsportsmanlike conduct will be required to complete an online coaches education program before being reinstated to sideline duty, the Florida High School Athletic Association Board of Directors voted at its April business today. ...

Coaches who are ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct currently must serve a minimum suspension from sideline coaching of seven days and at least two contests (one game in football). The length of the suspension can be increased depending upon the severity of the unsportsmanlike act. During the suspension the coach cannot attend a contest in which his or her team participates, accompany the team to the contest, or have any other contact with the team during the contest. The coach, however, is permitted to conduct practice.

Under the proposal approved by the board, however, the coach also will be required to complete the six-hour "NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching" provided by the National Federation of State High School Associations before the coach can resume sideline coaching duties. If the coach completes the course within the suspension period, the coach will be able to return to the sidelines once the suspension is served. If not, the coach's suspension will continue until the course is completed. The school will be required to pay the fee associated with the online course unless it chooses to pass the cost on to the coach.

FHSAA executive director John A. Stewart's quote, in the statement:

"Today's action sends a strong message to our coaches that the FHSAA Board of Directors holds them to a high standard when it comes to sportsmanship. ... Student-athletes model their behavior after that of their coaches. So, it is imperative that coaches exemplify sportsmanship in the way they conduct themselves during contests."

Pretty much anyone who's ever taken the online traffic test will agree: This certainly is a "strong message." (No word on how it affects insurance rates, though.)

--Patrick Dorsey

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