What does respect mean to you as a student-athlete? I always try to show good sportsmanship; whether it’s picking up the catcher’s mask before the inning starts or helping up a fallen opponent. I respect my opponents and myself, which plays a huge role in my love for softball. My coaches always stress the importance of good sportsmanship. I know how to “be a good sport” because I have been taught this from the time I was a kid playing in the church t-ball league. I assume many of you have had similar experiences.
Sportsmanship is a core principle for the NCAA. In January 2009, the NCAA Committee for Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct (CSEC) began an initiative to promote awareness and education of sportsmanship across the association. Since then, the RESPECT campaign has made its way through the NCAA and has touched administrators, coaches, and student-athletes – if you haven’t heard about it—Check it out at the NCAA Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Website!
NCAA schools are working to make sportsmanship a top priority on their campuses. Like everything else in this world, communication is key! Talk to your teammates, coaches, and administrators about sportsmanship and the RESPECT campaign. Sometimes fans need a reminder about sportsmanship too. Here are a few ways YOU can promote sportsmanship on your campus:
· Encourage student-athletes to read the sportsmanship statement before every game! It has more impact on the fans and players if a respected student-athlete reads it.
· Ask fans to nominate a “Sports Person of the Year”—get fans involved in the process!
· Meet with local YMCAs and elementary schools to encourage and promote good sportsmanship.
Put up (approved) posters around your school encouraging good sportsmanship. Here are some examples the NCAA has created to promote the RESPECT campaign: