As the athletic director for Logan High School, Clair Anderson sometimes felt as though he was buried in paperwork. He and athletic trainer Brad Nelson registered about 800 students a year for different sports. Each of those athletes generated eight to 10 pieces of printed paper that needed to be filed and compiled.
So Anderson and Nelson came up with an idea to create a website where Logan participants could register online.
That idea, called Register My Athlete, became so popular that some surrounding northern Utah schools began using it.
Starting with the 2014-15 school year, the 88,000 students who participate in Utah High School Activities Association-sponsored events will be required to use www.registermyathlete.com and the program Anderson and Nelson developed in order to participate.
Josh Taylor, the UHSAA’s communications and technology director, said Utah is the first state to require online registration of all students who participate in sports or other extracurricular activities.
Each participant will create an online account, which will follow him or her throughout their entire high school career. Basic information will be stored so students and parents won’t have to duplicate it every time a participant signs up for a new sport.
Parents or guardians will fill out the program using a home computer or, for those who do not have access, at a school computer lab or athletic office. Basics such as medical information, insurance, emergency contacts, and guardianship will be inputted into the site. Schools can also sign up to have parents use a credit card to pay all fees online, meaning that coaches will no longer have to handle money.
The program is designed to allow school administrators or coaches to make announcements. For example, if weather postpones a game, a post can make that announcement and then tell athletes and parents where it has been rescheduled.
Athletes will also fill out at UHSAA tryout checklist, to make sure they are eligible to compete at their school. Taylor said this will be particularly helpful to students and athletic administrators when an athlete is transferring to a new school. There are red flags for both the UHSAA, school administrators and parents if a participant needs to be granted a transfer or a hardship transfer.
Most of the information will be private with only parents and a few select school administrators having access to it. But information that would normally be made public such as team rosters will be readily available to parents and the media. They can be updated instantly.
Parents or guardians will also be required to use an online e-signature to verify that the information is accurate.
The system is pro-rated, with the larger schools paying $250 a year to use it and the smaller schools paying $100. Taylor said most schools will find the online registration not only easier but less expensive than having to use ink and paper for more traditional forms. The online registration forms will, for the most part, be posted on each individual school’s website.
"All the tools, requirements, rosters, transfers and eligibility lists will be provided free," said Taylor. "Schools will pay a yearly fee only if they want the capability to store athlete physicals, allow coaches to send emails to team members and if they want the ability for parents and athletes to be able to e-sign required documents."
Anderson said that when he became the Logan athletic director seven years ago, Nelson approached him saying that something needed to be done to get paperwork under control and put it online. Another time-consuming problem was that administrators had to input every piece of data themselves, which was a major chore for larger schools.
"Originally, we didn’t want to do this statewide," said Anderson. "We just wanted to make our lives easier. Then we looked at it as an opportunity to make every athletic director’s life easier."
He said the program could be a solution for other states.
"We’re just trying to help our colleagues and make our lives easier," said Anderson.
So, come this fall, the 88,000 Utah high school students who participant in a sport or other extracurricular activity as well as parents and administrators will find themselves becoming pioneers in a new online program.
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