KANSAS CITY, MO. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announces that two more state high school associations have joined the NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Leadership School Award Program. The program, based on the NAIA’s Champions of Character curriculum, is designed to create character-driven athletics and activities programs – one student, one parent and one coach at a time.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) have partnered with the NAIA to offer character training and leadership programs that will reach 412 schools and more than 160,000 student-athletes in Indiana and 782 schools and approximately 600,000 students in New York. The program was launched in 2010 with the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA).
“The IHSAA is delighted to partner with the NAIA and their outstanding Champions of Character Five-Star Leadership School Award Program," said Bobby Cox, commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association. “The enhancements this program will provide further augment our collective efforts to encourage positive sportsmanship at every IHSAA contest among all stakeholders and promote the values of education-based athletics in the Hoosier state."
Robert J. Zayas, executive director of the York State Public High School Athletic Association, said he is excited about the opportunity to bring attention to leadership and character development. “The NYSPHSAA member schools and student-athletes of New York will truly benefit from this incredible initiative,” Zayas said. “We appreciate the support and assistance from the NAIA to make this program a reality.”
The NAIA offers the recognition program that combines its practical character training programs with association-specific activities for coaches, students and parents. State associations design three of the five program components in combination with the NAIA’s Character-Driven Coaching online course and video training series for students, coaches and parents.
Champions of Character was developed by the NAIA, which formally teaches character through athletics at its member colleges and universities. Since 2000, Champions of Character has provided free training and resources to help those who work in athletics make character development a priority.