A program sponsored by the Titans and the NFL Foundation and adopted by the TSSAA aims to eliminate a “win at all costs” mentality in high school athletics.
The InSideOut Initiative promotes sports as an experience for human growth.
“This is something that we feel is definitely needed,” TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said. “We’ve got to get back to what educational athletics is all about.
“We serve a much bigger purpose than points on a scoreboard. We’re trying to develop to be successful in life and to make good citizens.”
The program was founded by Jody Redman and former NFL player Joe Ehrmann. The program is currently in 12 states. Ehrmann said two more are being added.
“We have somehow in the last 10 or 15 years moved into this win at all cost mentality,” said Ehrmann, who played pro football for 13 years and was the NFL’s first Ed Block Courage Award winner. “We’ve got to get back to educational-based.”
Ehrmann, who has been a high school football coach, is currently a motivational speaker, and he spoke with Redman on Monday at an athletic directors conference in Murfreesboro.
Among the states that have the initiative are California, Colorado, Georgia and Ohio.
Ehrmann said the first step is to meet with school leaders across the state on the role of sports in high schools.
“Why do we have them and why do we fund them,” he said. “Win at all costs is connected to the scoreboard,” Ehrmann said. “Education-based is about connecting student athletes to caring adults.”
The initiative provides teaching tools to hold schools accountable to developing the potential of students.