USA TODAY High School Sports is a partner of High School Football America
Don’t believe the hype: Ray Rice isn’t going to be an assistant coach for his alma mater, New Rochelle’s, football team after all.
As reported by the New Rochelle Talk of the Sound, Rice can not served as an assistant coach — even as a volunteer — because he fails to meet a number of the criteria required to serve as one. In addition to an FBI background check (which Rice would presumably pass because the domestic violence charges against him were eventually dropped), Rice would have to fulfill all the following individual requirements:
In New York, sports coaches must obtain a New York State Coaching License
Non-Teacher Coaches like Rice may obtain a Temporary Coaching License to coach any sport for which they qualify. Among the requirements, there must be no certified teachers available with appropriate experience and qualifications. They must have an appropriate First Aid course prior to start of season and be certified in Adult CPR. They must complete required coaching courses such as Philosophy & Principles, Theory & Techniques, and Health Science, and approved courses in Identification and Reporting of Child Abuse and Maltreatment and Training in School Violence Prevention and Intervention. The Philosophy & Principles course must be completed within two years from initial appointment as a coach. There is no provision for an extension of time for non-teachers to meet course requirements.
Rice has not accomplished that, which was confirmed when Talk of the Sound’s Robert Cox filed a Freedom of Information Act request for any job application, offer letter, confirmation of a background check or certification as an athletic coach in Rice’s name. Here’s what New Rochelle Board of Education Clerk Lisdalia Saraiva sent to Cox in response to his request:
“I acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Law request dated 6/3/2017 requesting records pertaining to the alleged employment of Ray Rice. Please be advised that we do not have any such records, such as “job application, paperwork related to a background check, his certification as an athletic coach in New York State, board resolutions, an offer letter or contract and so forth”, as Ray Rice has not been appointed to a position in the City School District of New Rochelle.”
Critically, it does not matter whether Rice was interested in serving voluntarily or as a lightly paid assistant; in the eyes of New York, any sports coach must file a job application and submit to a FBI Background Check. As Saraiva confirmed that there were no records related to Rice and his prospective employment, it would be illegal for Rice to serve as a voluntary assistant until such paperwork was filed.
Rice has been in an unofficial role for three years since he was banished from the NFL. Because he has more time now, the plan was for him to take a larger and more consistent role, according to Gannett partner LoHud.com.
“Everything is the same,” New Rochelle coach Lou DiRienzo told LoHud.com. “Ray’s been volunteering and mentoring these kids and training these kids and coaching these kids and on the sidelines on Saturdays. He’s been a volunteer for the last three years. He just happens to have more time in his schedule now.”
Rice’s planned role was to serve as running backs coach — as he did when the team began spring workouts last week — and also assist in the secondary.
Does all this mean that Rice won’t still serve as an assistant coach before the season kicks off? Not necessarily. But it does rule him out in any acknowledged role for the moment.
Follow USA TODAY High School Sports on Twitter at USATODAYHSS