The subject is background checks and the subsequent work which follows if you’re hired.

A lot was made recently about Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain and his research into the political viability of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the party’s vice-presidential running mate.

In Maine at North Yarmouth Academy, boys soccer coach Josh Muscadin stepped down after allegedly claiming that he had been a member of the 1984 Olympic men’s soccer team. Research proved that he wasn’t on the team.

As a longtime educator and coach, I thought today might be as good a time as any to talk about key factors in an inter-scholastic coach’s professional life in our state, which could determine what type of ethical quiz a coach might pass to sur-vive here once he or she is hired.

Self-evaluation is a good area for coaches to spend time work-ing on, especially in terms of their own performance, once the season is complete or prior to the beginning of the next one.

With fall sports in high gear at the high school level in Maine, I thought today might be as good a time as any to ad-dress ethical issues in terms of coaching conduct.

On a scale of 1 to 5, evaluate yourself, coaches, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the best.

Be honest, for a lot of what you, as head coach, do and say in these all-important areas will affect how your coaching staff and your players act.

No. 1: Recruiting. In Maine, if you, as coach, speak to any high school player who is currently enrolled at another in-state school about playing for your program, it is considered recruiting and is a strict violation of Maine Prin-cipals’ Association policy.

From my perspective, this is as bad a violation of ethical behavior as exists.

No. 2: Technical fouls and unsportsmanlike behavior.

If you seek to gain recogni-tion from the game officials to motivate your teams — some coaches do — then you’re giv-ing everyone a bad message and you’re establishing a dangerous pattern, which could result in poor behavior by your team.

No. 3: Don’t make playing time promises you can’t keep.

One of the biggest mistakes coaches make is telling kids how much they will play and when. Don’t fall into the poten-tially deep abyss of making promises you can’t keep.

Set the bar high for the so-called PT (playing time) vari-able. Make every minute out on the floor or field an earned mi-nute.

No. 4: Are you a good school person?

Part of the ethical quiz is to evaluate your own role in the educational process by asking yourself if you can display equal energy for all other extracurricular activities at your school.

It’s important to let all kids know that they think you are a good school person.

Attend the play, which may star your soccer forward. Participate in graduation. Chaperone the dance. You’ll be glad you did.

No. 5: Never badger teaching staff about the grades of your participants.

Passing the ethics test involves loyalty to the staff by accepting and supporting the grades your players earn.

Flunking the ethics test involves badgering teachers about the ranks your kids receive.

What’s your grade?

Be honest, and if you’re be-low the standard you think you should maintain to be a true professional, go back to work.

30-Second Time Out

I was happy to learn that longtime Dexter Regional High School boys basketball coach Peter Murray has been elected president of the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches. This is certainly good news for the basketball players and the coaches in the Pine Tree State.

The likeable Murray also serves Dexter as soccer coach, tennis coach, National Honor Society advisor, as well as the sophomore class advisor at the Piscataquis County school.