If rules were meant to be broken, why do we even bother with them? We set policies for our student-athletes to help us maintain control over the things we are responsible for. So when Star Athlete says, ‘Mind giving me the security code to the weight room door so I can get in a lift after hours?’, no big deal right.
Except that Star Athlete might share that code with a roommate, and he/she might pass it along to two friends. All of the sudden, everyone has the code and even though the weight room is officially closed, it’s more open than ever. Now you have liability issues, and equipment will start to slowly disappear. All because you made an exception.
The hardest thing to do with masses of people is to implement a new policy. It is human nature to resist change. So when our job dictates we change the way something is done, we have to stand by that policy with no exceptions, even if it means being the bad guy every now and then. Once people realize that no actually means no, they will start to respect and follow your policy and your policy will be effective.
But then don’t start making exceptions!
Mark Harris is the Assistant Director of Athletic Development at Northeastern University.