Executive Council

Authorizes Release:

Chief of Staff for the President

Responsible Area:

Athletics Office

Review Cycle:

Annually or as required

Last Review:

August 2023

Related Policies and Additional References:


The development and maintenance of a sound professional relationship with the student-athlete is vital. As a member of the NCAA, St. Mary’s ascribes to the ethical issues of this governing organization. Adherence to all rules and regulations as they pertain to ethical, moral and financial matters is to be followed to the letter. As a member of the Lone Star Conference, St. Mary’s adheres to all rules and regulations that govern our programs. If you have any doubts, consult the Director of Athletics prior to taking any action.

Head Coach Responsibility

The head coach is responsible for the total conduct of his or her sport program within the limits of authority defined by:

  • Philosophy of the Athletics Department
  • University and department policies and procedures
  • Rules and regulations of the conference in which St. Mary’s is a member of, the NCAA, and other appropriate sport governing bodies

All policies established by coaches shall be in the best interest of the student-athletes and shall be enforced without bias. All training rules and rules of conduct established by the coach shall be given to each team member in writing prior to the beginning of the season. The rules shall be discussed with the Athletics Director and/or the respective Associate Athletics Director with sport administrative oversight prior to team distribution. All rules shall be clearly stated and circumstances which result in the removal of the student-athlete from the sports program shall be specifically defined and not contrary to or more inclusive than the conditions specified for the removal of student-athletes from financial aid based on athletic ability. Language within team-specific rulebooks should be aligned with the Department of Athletics staff manual and student-athlete handbook. Due process shall be afforded to any student-athlete before aid is not renewed and/or his or her privileges to participate in the sport are defined.

All policies related to the mental or physical well-being of the student-athlete should be approved by the Director of Athletics and respective Associate Athletics Director with sport oversight, both of whom will work in conjunction with the Head Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach prior to being implemented. Under no circumstances may fluids be denied to student-athletes during training periods.

Workout, practice, and competition schedules should be given to the student-athletes at the earliest possible opportunity.

Control of the members of an athletics team during the season with respect to their membership on the team, their participation or non-participation in any part of any contest, and with respect to any other matter usually associated with such an athletic activity shall be entirely the responsibility of the coach of the sport. The coach will be responsible for the atmosphere and team chemistry created on and off the playing field or courts. The head coach must set the example for team members to follow. If conduct detrimental to the team occurs, it is also the head coach’s responsibility to immediately report that to the Director of Athletics and/or the respective Associate Athletics Director with sport oversight.

Assistant Coach or Volunteer Staff Responsibility

The Director of Athletics and the Compliance Officer must approve all coaches with our teams prior to the start of employment. Anyone affiliated with a St. Mary’s sports program must be made aware of the rules and regulations of the NCAA and Lone Star Conference.

  • A background check and meeting with the Director of Athletics will be required of perspective volunteer coaches prior to his/her involvement with the team.
  • Submission of the Athletic Volunteer Form to the Assistant Athletics Director of Administration and Business Operations and required HR forms (background check, vehicle authorization) must be submitted and approved prior to beginning any activities with the team to the Assistant Athletics Director of Administration and Business Operations.

Personal Relationships

At no time, should there exist, a personal relationship with a student-athlete that may compromise you, your integrity, or your program and the institution. It is imperative that this be made clear to all staff, and affiliates, as well. Additionally, at no time should any member of the athletic department staff be placed in a situation that may prove to be inappropriate; including consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Supervision on Team Travel

The Head Coach or assistant coach must accompany team members to and from all competition.  There is to be no consumption of alcohol by players while on team travel.  Coaches should make sure that players are supervised at all times during trips.  Examples:  at the mall or hotel, a coach or assistant should be with the team to make sure if any emergencies develop, a responsible adult is available.  Coaches traveling separately from the team should be limited.

Alcoholic Beverages

At no time will the department sanction the consumption of alcoholic beverages by student-athletes representing their team. In light of the fact that there is a need for consistency, this rule should apply to all athletes, even those who are of legal age for consumption. This policy is in effect any time student-athletes are representing the university (e.g. away games, banquets, conference tournaments, fundraisers, etc.)

  • The Director of Athletics and or Associate AD for Internal Operations should be immediately notified in writing when a coach is required to remove a player from his/her team due to a violation of this policy. The writing should state the dates, name, witnesses and rationale for the action taken.
  • At no time shall a coach or staff member be drinking with a currently rostered student-athlete, even if that student-athlete is of legal age. This applies to all events, regardless of whether the coach, staff member and/or student-athlete are representing the university in an official capacity at the event.

Vacation Period Housing

Coaches must make team arrangements for the early return of student-athletes from breaks between semesters and holidays when dorms are closed.

  • Compliance must approve student-athletes planning to return to campus prior to other members of the student body being able to do so.
  • The Compliance Office is the campus contact for pre-season housing and meals.  All requests must filter through this office.

Employment of Student-Athletes

The head coach is responsible for ensuring that any service, benefit and temporary employment of financial compensation made to a student-athlete is within the guidelines of the NCAA rules.

  • The members of senior staff (Director of Athletics, Assoc. AD for Compliance and Internal Operations) must approve personal employment of student-athletes.

Game and Practice Environment

Coaches should conduct all practices and competitions in a safe and controlled environment. Any unsafe conditions detected with the facility or fields being used should be reported immediately to the Director of Operations. (E.g. fields with exposed sprinkler head, unsafe bleachers, etc.)

Special Requests

The head coach is to be present with the travel party at all times during the trip. It is mandatory that the travel party remain as a group thought the entire trip. All members of the travel party must leave from campus and return to campus following the contest. Requests for special consideration must be submitted to the Director of Athletics and/or Associate AD for Compliance and Internal Operations in writing at least two days prior to the occurrence of the event for which the special consideration is sought.

Community Service

Coaches are expected to encourage their student-athletes to track their community service hours using the GivePulse website. Not only can service hours be logged here, but student-athletes can also use the site to find available community service projects seeking volunteers. The GivePulse website is linked within the Athletics portal on Gateway.

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