New Ohio Initiative Aims to Combat “Win-at-All Costs” Sports Mentality

OHSAA, National Football League Foundation, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns Among Ohio Supporters

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The InSideOut Initiative focused on transforming the culture of the high school “win-at-all-costs” mentality will soon launch in Ohio with the support of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), National Football League Foundation and other local and national organizations. The Initiative 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.

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. The Initiative will engage stakeholders in strategic conversation to re-define the role of interscholastic sports in the lives of students and communities.

Ohio will be the next state to launch this Initiative, thanks to comprehensive funding from the National Football League Foundation. The OHSAA is currently gathering leaders in the educational and sports communities to discuss the Initiative and plan for its implementation.

“This Initiative fits right into the OHSAA’s goal of developing well-rounded student-athletes,” said Dave Gray, Interim Commissioner of the OHSAA. “We look forward to launching the InsideOut Initiative in Ohio.”

Ohio’s local NFL teams will also play a critical role in the Initiative. Both the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns have endorsed the effort.  “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.  The goal is certainly 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” said Jody Redman, Co-Founder of the InSideOut Initiative.

In addition to the OHSAA and National Football League Foundation, the Initiative also has support from the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA); 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).