ORONO – The University of Maine has always had a relationship with the Sports Done Right initiative, from housing the Maine Center for Sport and Coaching, which administers the program, to hosting conferences and featuring its coaches at events.
The relationship will be strengthened further with Monday afternoon’s announcement that the University of Maine athletic department has formed a partnership with Sports Done Right that will include more signage, publicity and inclusion in UMaine’s clinics and summer sports camps.
Dr. Edna M. Szymanski, the University of Maine provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, made the announcement at the Buchanan Alumni House.
Maine football coach Jack Cosgrove, who was on hand to represent the athletic department, earlier Monday spoke to a group of high school and middle school administrators from around the state who were on campus to hear more about Sports Done Right.
“I applaud your commitment to Sports Done Right,” he told the group. “As a teaching tool … this will go a long way to the betterment of sports in Maine. I’ll promote it in every way, shape and form.”
Sports Done Right is a federally funded initiative that seeks to define healthy interscholastic athletic programs.
The partnership will involve the use of the Sports Done Right logo at athletic department events and in publications, said Sports Done Right co-directors Robert Cobb, the dean of University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development and Duke Albanese, former Maine state commissioner of education. There will also be increased public service announcements.
Maine athletic director Blake James will also include Sports Done Right in his talking points when he makes presentations, Cobb added, and will work with Bowdoin athletic director Jeff Ward to convene a sort of Sports Done Right summit for Maine intercollegiate athletic directors.
“The University of Maine can say, we think Sports Done Right is the way to develop young people,” Albanese said. “That sends a message to the other colleges and universities in Maine.”
The partnership will also be noticeable at the university’s summer camps and clinics, which are run by Black Bear coaches. The coaches will likely apply Sports Done Right principles to the summer programs.
Several Maine coaches, including hockey coach Tim Whitehead and women’s soccer coach Scott Atherley, have already spoken at Sports Done Right events.
Cosgrove said he’s concerned about the education of coaches and specialization of athletes, both of which are addressed in Sports Done Right.
There are a lot of elements of the program from which he can draw, Cosgrove added, even though the program is aimed at middle school and high school athletics.
“[There is the issue of] competing, learning how to compete with other athletes or against other teams, and that teaches you how to compete in the classroom,” he said. “I think those are important skills that we can pass on.”