Elevating Our Sports Game With NDIAA

Elevating Our Sports Game With NDIAA

Competition among Schools for the Deaf around the country carries deep significance for the student-athletes who compete. More than an opportunity for student-athletes to represent their schools on a national level, it is a chance to forge lifelong relationship and memories. Deaf Schools regularly compete across state lines, sometimes flying across the country for games and tournaments. It can be a challenge to manage competition rules between intrastate athletic associations. That’s why in 2007, the National Deaf Interscholastic Athletic Association was formed.

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Creating a New Online Presence

As a governing body, the NDIAA’s role could be compared to the NCAA albeit with a little less teeth. The NDIAA hosts biannual conferences of Athletic Directors in which matters such as competition rules are discussed and voted on. The NDIAA oversees five national tournaments, including the Spikeout (Volleyball), Clerc Classic (Basketball & Cheer), Willigan (Wrestling), Hoy Classic (Baseball & Softball) and Berg-Seeger (Track & Field). At the end of each sports season, the NDIAA awards committee will make its selections for Team of the Year, Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, All-American and Athlete of the Year. 

The NDIAA wanted an online presence that would make it easy for member schools, coaches and athletes to find information about the conferences, tournaments and its awards. They also needed a place that made it easy to share announcements, solicit donations, and accept online payments for member fees. 

Building the Wall of Fame

Building the website is an effort in itself, but we decided to customize a sports management plugin to more specifically meet the unique needs of the NDIAA. We wanted to offer an experience where it would be easy to search and find past award winners, and to add photos for each team and individual award winner. We knew that by having an easily searchable database along with photos, we would increase the overall website traffic and the amount of time people spend on the site. 

The NDIAA’s archive of award winners was available on its existing website but not available in a format where we could export or import the data into the software we wanted. The data was also inconsistent across sports and seasons. For example, one year Division I was spelled as such and the next it was abbreviated to Div. I. All Americans one year were known as All-Americans the next. These inconsistencies (and in some places typos) ultimately make it impossible to do a clean import.  We extracted and combed through over 4,000 records, cleaning the data and developing new nomenclatures that resulted in a clean and easily searchable and sortable data file that the NDIAA can carry with it into future platforms. 

Positioned for the Future

The NDIAA was formed in 2007 at a meeting of Deaf School athletic directors who wanted to improve the overall competition experience between their programs. At that time, private organizations had started their own annual awards, recognizing athletes and teams with explicit bias that ultimately created feelings of inequity between schools. Since then, the NDIAA has become the most credible awards program for Deaf student-athletes.

The NDIAA started with limited funding, no true regulatory authority and a desire to enhance opportunities and recognition of Deaf student-athletes. Over the past 13 years they have grown their credibility and influence in pursuit of fair competition. As their role expands, their need for frequent communication and visibility in the Deaf Sports community has grown tremendously.

CHILMARKeting is proud to partner with the NDIAA in support of their ongoing communication needs. In addition to building, updating and maintaining their website, CHILMARKeting is also supporting the NDIAA public relations, marketing and communication needs of the board of directors. It is our long term goal to see the marketability and quality of competitions increase to the level where our entire community can more fully participate in the spirit that competition brings.

Visit the NDIAA website and learn more about the organization at https://ndiaa.us

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