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Mornings with Mike: The First Ever Virtual Conference

Posted By Justin Chapman, Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Updated: Thursday, September 10, 2020

Morning with Mike: The First Ever Virtual Conference

Dr. Mike Blackburn, CMAA | NIAAA

From the first mention of the coronavirus to where we find ourselves today in overcoming its disturbances, the athletic administrators in America’s schools have performed tremendously well. Each step forward has occurred outside of our comfort zone and with some uncertainty. In addition, each step suffers a number of setbacks and readjustments.

 

Our guiding light has been hope, determination, and persistence. Most of us find ourselves in the sixth month of balancing the obstacles brought forth by COVID-19, as directors of athletics assist with some format of school opening and leading the reopening of school athletic programs. Our members have proven to be the rock on which a new school year of athletic programs reside. The NIAAA and its membership have worked together during a challenging 2020 to remain focused, to grow professionally, and to reach out and assist colleagues to become stronger in their roles.

 

We now find ourselves on the eve of the National Athletic Directors Conference, just three months away. Protocols remain tight not only in our schools and programs, but also within the national conference hotels and convention center we planned to use. As you probably know, the December 2020 national conference will be the first virtual national event conducted for interscholastic athletic administrators. Since the four most recent years of conferences were the top four largest in attendance, our hopes for the first ever visit to Tampa, Florida, was at the same expectation. That hope remains as we move online, and we see the possibility that this virtual conference could be attended by more ADs than ever. We will miss not being able to reunite in person, but we believe this new experience may have something special in store.

 

We are in the midst of selecting a platform that will deliver the conference and are finalizing a draft schedule that strongly resembles the live conference. The success of the virtual conference will continue to rest on the many volunteer members who will instruct, moderate, facilitate and present. I view the 2020 National Athletic Directors Conference not as a setback, but rather a great opportunity! I believe that this year will provide even more ADs from around the nation to be a part. Colleagues who have never been able to attend the great national conference that so many of us look forward to each year, will have it available on their computer screen. Another benefit exists in that each session will be recorded, allowing registered attendees to go back and view any sessions that they missed.

 

Yes, we feel disappointment in not being able to greet you in the surrounding beauty of Tampa, and that the Florida Host Committee will not be able to share their preparation and hospitality. Yet, let us now turn our attention to the new possibilities of service. Some of you will serve colleagues as instructors, others by preparing a workshop topic, some through networking and sharing, while many will attend in order to become stronger in their role allowing them to better serve their student-athletes, coaching staffs and school community.

 

NIAAA Board President, Lanness Robinson’s leadership has shown in new ways during this challenging year, yet his basic message to “Be Better” is without a doubt appropriate each day as we battle through this virus and its ramifications. I look forward to seeing you online for the 2020 National Athletic Directors Conference. Visit www.adconference.org for the most recent information.


Tags:  conference  NADC  virtual 

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