The NCAA says its regulation for strength coaches is aimed at benefiting and protecting athletes. Others say the motives aren’t so noble.
When the National Collegiate Athletic Association passed legislation in 2014 tightening requirements for Division 1 strength-and-conditioning coaches, it drew suspicion.
The regulation requires all Division 1 strength-and-conditioning coaches to hold a nationally accredited certification, with athlete safety and a desire to meet athletes’ performance needs cited as the impetus behind the rule change. But not just any nationally accredited certification is acceptable. The NCAA wants the certification from one accrediting body in particular: the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
One of the certifications the NCCA recognizes is the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential offered by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)—the same organization that, according to documents obtained by the CrossFit Journal, spearheaded efforts to institute the regulation that went into effect Aug. 1, 2015.
“This is a way for the NSCA to look good by saying, ‘All Division 1 strength-and-conditioning coaches have their CSCS,’ and it’s a way for the NCAA to say, ‘We care about athlete safety,’” said Colin Farrell, a strength-and-conditioning coach with the swim team at Marymount University, a Division 3 school in Arlington, Virginia. He also works part-time at Potomac CrossFit in Arlington.
He added: “Instead of (the NSCA) upping their game and providing a better service they have tried to regulate themselves into relevance to (increase) their revenue.”