Special Olympics Illinois is investing in a technology platform that will make a huge difference for all coaches responsible for submitting games entries and tracking athlete eligibility. The new platform will eventually allow for electronic paperwork submission and coach access to their agency’s athlete eligibility information. As we transition to this platform and eventually roll out to coaches, we have to make some changes in our policies regarding deadlines for athlete medical applications, unified partner applications and some games entry procedures. This document (add link) explains the changes in more detail including the improvements that all our coaches will experience as a result of these changes.
NEW TERMINOLOGY (SAME PAPERWORK):
Intent to Play: Form for team sports only. This form allows us to compile a list of all the agencies that will have teams so we can send them out to you so you can schedule games. This form will remain the same.
Sports Roster: This is NEW. Sports rosters will be due 6-8 weeks prior to the event date. Coaches will be asked to send a list of athletes, and Unified Partners when applicable, who are competing in the upcoming event to the Area Director. The Area Director is then responsible for checking med app expiration dates and/or Unified Partner expiration dates for the qualifier, district, sectional and state event to make sure the athlete med app/Unified Partner app is valid. The Area Director will then notify the coach of any issues with these so coaches can follow up on problem medical/Partner applications.
Competition Entry Roster: This is your OFFICIAL entry forms and will be due 4-5 weeks prior to an event. At this time ALL athletes and Unified Partners on your competition roster must have valid medical applications/Unified Partner applications through the tournament they are entering into; if they are not valid then they will not be allowed into the competition. No exceptions will be made, so start planning ahead. Med Apps and Unified Partner applications may be turned in on this date; however if the medical application or Unified Partner application is incomplete or has problems these athletes will have to be scratched.
Scratch Deadline: Date for scratching athletes out of events.
Why is SOILL changing its entry deadlines? Why are we making our med app/Unified Partner deadlines so strict?
- Real Time Information with less paperwork: In 2016 we will be rolling out an online registration process for all agencies to use. This online entry process will allow coaches to check and monitor med app/Unified Partner expiration dates and cut the amount of entry paperwork to nearly nothing! Just think eventually you will log onto a website and submit your entries with a simple click of the mouse!
- The caveat to this online system is that in order to allow you to have online access to enter athletes and Unified Partners they have to be valid in our system first (hence the strict deadlines).
- AND because we currently operate under lenient deadlines this new system won’t work—we need to adapt and adjust. YES this is going to be painful at first, but in the future it will be so much better for you!
- Consistency: By implementing these deadlines we are changing our culture. Deadlines will now mean a hard deadline. With the change we will know on the competition entry roster deadline date we will have all valid medical applications/Unified Partner applications therefore we will be able to turn information around more quickly. Also, SOILL Policies & Procedures REQUIRE 8 weeks of practice prior to events and this will help ensure that all athletes who are practicing for a competition have a valid medical application/Unified Partner application. The 8 weeks of practice prior to an event isn’t anything new and by having medical applications/Unified Partner applications come in prior to training and the competition, teams are covered so if an accident should happen during training they will have access to SOILL’s secondary insurance.
- Quality: Our goal is to improve the quality of competition for our athletes. Since we will no longer be chasing medical and Unified Partner applications for an upcoming event, we will be able to put more time into the quality of the competition and athlete experience.