Perhaps we have come to the point where young males in their early-20s and fresh out of college, shouldn't be put in charge of coaching high school-age female cheerleaders.
Coaching is a blast, but it's easy to get caught up in the personal lives of students, especially in this digital age. It's not that hard to see how a young coach in his early-20s would look at the athletes he was put in charge of, more as friends and peers than as student-athletes.
Youth Cheerleading and Gymnastics Coach Arrested
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, 22-year-old Boise youth gymnastics coach Derek Nesbitt was arrested at the gymnastics facility where he works on July 20 on charges of sexual battery of a minor between the age of 15 and 16.
It was alleged that he engaged in sexual relations with two of his female students at least five and six years his junior.
"The charges followed a lengthy investigation by the Ada County Sheriff's Office after the department was notified of an incident where Nesbitt allegedly plied a group of teens with alcohol," the Yahoo! report states.
Obviously there is no excuse for a coach engaging in sexual acts with a minor, but I think the school should have known better than to put an attractive 22-year-old male in charge of cheerleaders and gymnasts that he's not much older than.
This was a recipe for disaster.
I believe it's probably far more likely that Nesbitt let his hormones get the best of him and simply made a bone-headed decision, rather than actually being a child-molesting monster like Jerry Sandusky.
Who Should Take The Blame?
Clearly, Nesbitt shouldn't have done what he did. However, I believe at least part of the blame needs to go to the hiring manager at the school, as it's not hard to see how this situation turned ugly in a hurry.
A 22-year-old male is of the age of a recent college graduate, and just breaking into the role of a responsible adult. Since a 22-year-old would likely see a 17-year-old more as a friend or peer, rather than someone he's in charge of, it leads to a dangerous situation like the one we saw in Boise.
There is no excuse for Nesbitt's behavior, but I can easily see how a 22-year-old would forget he's supposed to be the mature adult in the room, and let emotions get the best of him.
Perhaps athletic directors need to seriously consider hiring older, more seasoned professionals for such positions, to avoid instances like this in the future.
That may not be feasible, but at the very least, athletic directors should have serious conversations with new coaching hires to reflect that they must act as mature, responsible adults at all times.
Sometimes all it takes is a stern conversation and a fair warning to prevent such instances from occurring.
Eric Holden has been covering youth league and high school sports since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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