Coaches who shake hands after the game. Fans who feel safe rooting for their team, even on an opponent’s home turf. A player who helps someone from the other team to his or her feet.
These simple acts of good sportsmanship are key to the success of college sports, and for the most part, athletics administrators, conference commissioners and coaches report they see these scenarios playing out frequently during college contests, according to an August 2015 NCAA membership survey. The survey found 66 percent of athletics administrators and 73 percent of coaches believe examples of poor sportsmanship in college sports are fairly isolated.
But those same individuals report uncertainty about whether schools and the Association are doing enough to promote ongoing good sportsmanship among fans, players and coaches. Ninety percent of administrators, 92 percent of coaches and 91 percent of conference commissioners said the NCAA should take on the role of encouraging and publicizing the importance of good sportsmanship.
So, this fall, the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct launched a revamped campaign with resources that help campuses encourage respect for their teams and their opponents.
“Good sportsmanship is foundational,” says Sherard Clinkscales, chair of the committee and athletics director at Indiana State University. “The committee hopes the membership will use these tools to encourage fans, coaches and student-athletes to keep sportsmanship at the forefront of what we do.”
The campaign is built on the premise that student-athletes and coaches worked hard to get where they are, and those efforts deserve respect. Both the audio and video public service announcements, for instance, begin with a female voice saying, “If I lose, I’ll respond with respect.” A male voice follows: “If I win, I’ll back it up with humility.”
This RESPECT campaign launched in 2008 but hasn’t been updated since. Survey results indicated the materials were underused or members weren’t aware of them. The updated components, now available at www.ncaa.org/respect, include the following:
Thirty-second public service announcements can be used to promote sportsmanship during a competition. Announcements were produced for video boards and in audio format for schools that do not have video capabilities in their venues. Also available: a script public address announcers can use to remind fans to exercise good sportsmanship.
Downloadable files can be used to create RESPECT campaign banners that hang in a competition venue.
A downloadable 15-page booklet outlines best practices, case studies and information about the RESPECT resources available to campuses.
For game programs:
High-resolution versions of full-page, half-page and quarter-page promotional advertisements can be used in game programs.
A two-page guide to putting a sportsmanship program in place on a campus.
To learn more about the RESPECT campaign and download materials for use on your campus, visit http://www.ncaa.org/respect.