Can I require student coaches to be modest?

I coach 7-8 grade girls’ basketball in the CYO. I am also the AD and 7-8 grade teacher at my school. My issue is this: I feel that giving back to the community is of extraordinary importance, and I have invited two of my former players to come back and help me coach the team. They are presently highschoolers (all in the public schools) and set a terrible example of immodesty to the present players.

Otherwise, they are exemplary youth and I hold them in the highest esteem (there were others who I would not consider bringing back to coach). They are not in ignorance regarding modesty in dress (I spend some considerable time in 7th and 8th grade religion courses on modesty which is the mother of all sexual indiscretions). Thus, they are consciously objectifying themselves and have bought into the cultural norms of the public school they attend. It really does offend me and I worry about the condition of their souls and those of the boys waiting for the next practice or watching our games who “observe” them.

Should this be something that I should take a stand on or should I do my best to look the other way? I believe that how they dress is wrong, but they may have forgotten the mortal consequences of their actions. Should I just remind them of these and leave it at that? Talking to the parents would be kind of useless as they permit them to come to practice dressed in this way.

Do I have a responsibility to further reprimand and admonish them? Is indifference here something that is destructive to my soul?? I worry about losing the coaches (or forcing them to buy all new clothes). They are the best we have to offer, but they give in to immodesty. Since I am a male coach, I really need them to oversee the lockerroom before and after practices and games. We have some with bullying habits, and I do not want the girls in the locker room unsupervised.

I thank you kindly for a speedy response as I do not want to lead anyone away from God by my indifference, and I do not want to shun good people from our program by my archaic and extrordinarily orthodox ways. This is quite a dilemma for me. I truly enjoy working with the young people in school and on the court and in their spiritual lives. I attempt to make our athletic program God-centered.

Please advise on how to proceed.

Yours in Christ,


You have two grounds upon which you can require a dress code for student coaches: one, you’re their “employer”; two, this is a sports activity, which often requires uniforms. My suggestion is to require the student coaches to wear uniforms when directing the athletic activities. Decide what dress standard would allow the coaches to do their job without overexposing themselves and pass around a written memo outlining the new guidelines. Those who do not wish to conform to the new uniform requirements can choose to resign. Those who ask for an explanation may simply be told, “Because the coaches are role models and supervisors for the students, there needs to be uniformity in sports attire during work hours.” (Come to think of it, that explanation can be put in the memo.)

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