Athletic Handbook

Northern Athletic Conference Section 10

Sportsmanship Guidebook

Information in this booklet was compiled from data from the following sources: Oregon School Activities Association

National Federation of State High Schools Association New Mexico Activities Association

Teachable Moments


The high school booster group is very supportive but lately one father begins to lead chants that are negative toward the officials and derogatory toward the opposing team.

  • How can cheerleaders influence adult spectators to make sure they follow the same guidelines for sportsmanship that the students are instructed to follow?

  • How can cheerleaders work with the student group to set the tone for all spectators?

    During half time the cheerleaders and dance team are performing. The visiting team takes the court early to do some warm up shooting and disrupts the performance by dribbling and letting balls roll through the dancers.

  • How could the home team have prevented this distraction?

  • What - if anything - should be done after the performance?


    During a close game the star player from an opposing team gestures and taunts the home team spectators whenever he makes a big play. The band decides to target him and whenever he touches the ball they begin to boo and play noisily.

  • How can the band's enthusiasm be refocused to help their team?

  • What actions can the band take to diffuse potential fan anger rather than incite it?

    The visiting band is quick to play at every time out leaving the home team band waiting for their turn. After several missed opportunities the home band starts to play over the visiting band's music creating tension between the students.

  • What actions could have kept this problem from occurring?

  • Now that the students are riled - what can band members do to get the fans focused back on the game?






SECTION 10 Sportsmanship Statement

Interscholastic activities are an integral part of the educational curriculum and experience. High school activities promote the character development of participants, enhance the educational mission and promote civility in society. Therefore, student- athletes, coaches, spectators and all others associated with high school activities programs and events should adhere to the fundamental values of respect, fairness, honesty, and responsibility. These values should be established as a priority among all Section 10 member high schools.

It is the responsibility of each member high school to establish policies for sportsmanship and ethical conduct consistent with the educational mission and goals of that school and to continually educate students, coaches, teachers, parents, and all involved about those policies.






Know the Rules

Gain knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the rules of the contest.

Being well informed is essential. Always coach and play by the rules.

Behave Appropriately

Make sure your behavior represents your values.

The true value of high school competition is not related to which competitor

wins or loses. Remember your behavior influences others and represents your values.

Respect Officials

Respect the officials of the contest.

Officials of any contest have been trained, tested, and in most cases certified to arbitrate. A fundamental aspect of good sportsmanship is to accept the officials' rulings whether you personally agree with them or not.

Respect Opponents

Openly display respect and appreciation for opponents at all times.

Opponents at your school are guests and should be provided the best accommodations and hospitality possible. Appreciation for their skills and effort should be taught and displayed.

Do Your Best to Win!

Sportsmanship is doing your very best to prepare to win.

The best sportsmanship is to prepare to the best of your ability, to compete to the best of your ability at all times, and to accept the outcomes without excessive celebration or

excessive displays of disappointment.

Sportsmanship Matters!

Rule 1 Trips: The head coach, athletic director, high school principal, or the high school principal's authorized representative, shall accompany all school teams or individuals participating in an activity. The school shall be responsible for acts of its school teams or individuals while on trips, or while participating in any such activity.

Sportsmanship Responsibility: The high school coach, athletic director principal and other responsible officials of each member school shall take all reasonable measures to insure that the school's students and supporters maintain a sportsmanlike attitude toward all events so that events may be conducted without reasonable danger or disorder.

Rule 1a All cheers, comments and actions shall be in direct support of one's team. No cheers, comments or actions shall be directed at one's opponent or at contest officials. Derogatory and/or unsportsmanlike language is not allowed. No player may be singled out by number, name or position with negative comments of any kind.

Sportsmanship Violations / Penalties: When the students, staff, or supporters of any member school engage in unsportsmanlike conduct, disorder or infliction of damage to persons or property in connection with any tourney, meet, contest or championship sport sponsored by the Section 10 or its Executive council may treat such acts as a violation.

Rule 1b Any school whose students, supporters, rooters or partisans take part in riots, fights, pilfering, painting or any other unsportsmanlike conduct shall be subject to penalty.

Spectator Conduct at Section 10 Sanctioned Events

In addition to the general expectations of Rule 1, that school officials"... shall take all reasonable measures to ensure that the school's students and supporters maintain a sportsmanlike attitude toward all events..." the following specific expectations regarding spectator conduct at all Section 10 sanctioned events, including regular and post season competition, are provided:

  1. Spectators are not permitted to have signs or banners (larger than 2’ x4’), confetti, balloons or glass containers. Spectators are required to wear shirts.

  2. Spectators are not permitted to have artificial noisemakers. Some examples of artificial noisemakers are Thunder Sticks, cowbells, clappers, and air horns.

  3. Spectators shall not be permitted to use vulgar/offensive or racially/culturally insensitive language. Spectators shall not be permitted to engage in any racially/culturally insensitive action.

  4. All cheers, comments and actions shall be in direct support of one's team. No cheers, comments or actions shall be directed at one's opponent or at contest officials. Some examples of inappropriate conduct or actions that are not permitted are: turning backs, holding up newspapers or jeering at the cheerleaders during opposing team introductions; disrespecting players by name, number or position; negative cheers or chants; throwing objects on the floor.

  5. Spectators who fail to comply with Association or site management spectator conduct expectations may be expelled from the contest.

Ejection Policies - Ejected Player or Coach: If a player or coach is ejected by an official for an unsportsmanlike act, he/she must leave the contest immediately and shall not be allowed further contact with team members for the duration of that contest. It shall be the responsibility of the school to disallow the ejected player or coach from participating during the period of suspension specified in the Regulations, regardless of whether written notification has been received by the school from the section athletic office. Should an ejected player participate or an ejected coach remain within "sight and sound" of the team during the period of suspension specified in the Regulations, and no appeal is pending, that action shall be considered use of an ineligible participant and shall result in forfeiture of that contest and other penalties as determined by the Executive council.

Ejection Policies - Multiple Ejections of Individual: A second ejection for an unsportsmanlike act during the same sport season will result in a two-game suspension. A third ejection for an unsportsmanlike act during the same sport season will result in disqualification from further participation in that sport during that sport season.

Ejection Policies - Physical Contact with Official: Physical contact between a coach/player and an official shall be considered a gross act of unsportsmanlike conduct. The offending coach/player shall be immediately ejected from the contest, shall be suspended as provided in the (NYSPHSAA) Regulations and may be required to satisfy other requirements as prescribed by the Executive council.

Sportsmanship - Criticism of Officials: It shall be considered an act of unsportsmanlike conduct if school representatives (coaches, administrators, players or other school personnel) make comments to the media that criticize or disparage the officiating of any contest.

Withdrawal during a Competition: If a coach removes his/her team from competition prior to completion of that competition; it shall be considered a gross act of unsportsmanlike conduct. In such a case the school shall forfeit the contest and an administrator and the coach responsible for the action may need to appear before the Executive Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

Generally Accepted Guidelines for Section 10 Contests

  • Welcome the visiting team and officials and show them to their secured locker room or meeting room. Provide them an escort to their locker room at half-time and after the contest.

  • Provide an environment that is free of safety hazards.

  • Display an American flag and play the national anthem prior to the contest, (if possible).

  • Provide students and fans from the visiting school adequate seating and cheering areas.

  • Read a public announcement about the expectation of good sportsmanship and appropriate spectator conduct -- It's All About Respect.

  • Assign a game administrator and be sure they are aware of plans in case of injury or emergency.

  • Take swift action with anyone who violates principles of good sportsmanship or jeopardizes the safety of themselves or others.

  • Non-participating students should stay off the playing area at all times.

  • An administrator from each participating school, the host administrator and representative of the game officials shall make contact prior to game time to reiterate the site's guidelines for student cheer and spirit groups, discuss the sportsmanship goals of the contest, and confirm the physical location of the school administrators during the contest.

  • Indoor Contests: At least one empty row must serve as a buffer between the floor and the student sections. The student sections shall be specifically marked and separated (such as by ropes, pennants, or other barriers) from the general spectator seating areas. In the interest of sportsmanship and positive behavior, the student sections for competing teams shall not be adjacent to each other, directly behind either goal or directly behind the bench of the opposing team.

The administration, which includes all executive personnel of the school, is charged with the responsibility of establishing good sportsmanship and citizenship. The quality of sportsmanship displayed reflects the leadership provided by administration. The high school principal is responsible for leadership in the various programs under his/her supervision and must rely on the athletics directors, coaches and staff to be extensions of the principal's leadership. Administration should have all the following materials prepared for implementation and distribution to staff members.

  1. Prepare a statement of philosophy that states the objectives of the school and its activity programs.

  2. Clearly outline standards of sportsmanship reflecting the District and School policies and objectives. Behavioral expectations for each group should be included (i.e.. cheerleaders, band, coaches, event staff, etc..)

  3. Provide adequate supervision. Clearly prepare personnel in this position for potential problems and proper response to emergencies

  4. Establish and maintain working relationships with law enforcement and security agencies in your area.

  5. Establish and maintain working relationships with members of the media and encourage their support and promotion of good sportsmanship at every opportunity.

  6. Administration must take swift and appropriate action when behavior falls short of expectations. Unsportsmanlike behavior by any group must not be tolerated.

  7. Administration must address and be sensitive to cultural and socio-economic issues.

"One person practicing good sportsmanship is far better than fifty others preaching it" Coach Knute Rockne

Administration is directly responsible for implementation of a comprehensive sportsmanship effort. All details essential to a purposeful educational contest require efforts of individuals committed to the ideals of good sportsmanship.

  1. Schedule opponents who reflect high standards of sportsmanship. More importantly, refuse to participate with those who do not.

  2. Provide sufficient staff and security to supervise and ensure control. Act swiftly to correct those who fall short of expectations.

  3. Make time to clearly communicate and inform coaches, students, parents and others about rules of the activity as well as behavioral expectations. Include strategies and penalties for those who do not abide by the rules.

  4. Use competent, trained public address announcers who will not elicit unfavorable reactions with their conduct or comments. Be sure they are prepared to promote the fundamentals of good sportsmanship.

  5. Supervise and work closely with cheerleaders, band members and booster groups to be allies in crowd management.

  6. Have seasonal meeting with coaches, booster groups, media and support staff making sportsmanship expectations a consistent item on the agenda

  7. Use trained scorekeepers and timers competent to the task to alleviate potential problems.

  8. Have secure parking, locker facilities and seating for visitors and officials. Greet them, direct them to locker areas and note location of administrators prior to contest.

  9. Think of creative ways to make visitors and officials feel welcome and make their needs a priority item.

The coach must demonstrate and apply leadership, integrity, responsibility, self-control, knowledge of the rules and regulations, honesty, and the highest sportsmanship at all times because he/she represents the district, school, community, profession and students. Coaches must always set the highest examples for all these audiences.

  1. Exemplify the highest moral character, behavior and leadership - set the benchmark high!

  2. Be outspoken in public about the importance of good sportsmanship. Be visible in correcting unsportsmanlike actions whether or not your team members are included.

  3. Respect the personality and integrity of the individual athlete or non-athlete.

  4. Abide by the rules of the contest in letter and in spirit.

  5. Respect the integrity and judgment of officials/judges. Never bait, taunt, or provoke officials in any way. As a school leader the coach is responsible for all participating personnel. Officials are coaches' responsibility as well.

  6. Demonstrate a mastery and continuing interest in coaching/teaching principles and techniques through professional development.

  7. Use trained scorekeepers and timers competent to the task to alleviate potential problems.

  8. Have secure parking, locker facilities and seating for visitors. Greet visitors, direct them to locker areas and note location of administrators prior to contest.

  9. Think of creative ways to make visitors feel welcome and make their needs a priority item.

  1. Make good sportsmanship/citizenship part of the daily practice sessions. Good sportsmanship will not show up in games if it is not practiced daily.

  2. Meet with parents and stress the importance of good sportsmanship and good citizenship being reinforced in the home. Good citizenship is not practiced in moments but is the foundation of daily decisions.

  3. Draft a Code of Conduct prior to the activity season, or let participants help put a Code of Conduct together. Each participant must sign his/her agreement to uphold the criteria of the Code of Conduct to wear a school uniform.

  4. Maintain positive decorum when dealing with the media. Never humiliate or belittle any student publicly.

  5. Recognize outstanding performances of your own students and opponents in pre- or post-game discussions.

  6. Reinforce sound training habits from sleep, to nutrition, to avoidance of drugs and alcohol. Openly discuss things that will work against the training efforts of the team or individuals. Establish an honor system and commitment to sound habits during the season and through the year.

  7. Set up penalty systems for students who use profanity, lose tempers, or treat team members or opponents disrespectfully. Adhere tightly to the penalty when appropriate.

  8. Set up reward systems for performance - then set up an even greater reward for sportsmanship/citizenship performance.

  9. Invite officials to attend practice and educate players about the rules. Ask them to officiate a team scrimmage. Be sure good sportsmanship is displayed at all times.

  10. Lead by example!

Be a Good Role Model

Remember that actions speak louder than words. You must show what good sportsmanship is by treating opposing players, coaches, officials and game crews with respect.

Emphasize Sportsmanship from the Beginning

The process of teaching sportsmanship starts early. Reinforce the importance of sportsmanship from the very first contact with the players.

Talk About the Balance of Seriousness and Playfulness

The principals of sportsmanship are based on the very nature of sport, as sport is a form of competitive play. Explain to players that sport is serious fun. Help them understand that poor sportsmanship is a matter of being too serious. As the leader be serious when it's called for but be willing to loosen up and have fun when appropriate.

Talk About the Relationship between Sportsmanship and Success

Make sure your players understand that success in sports is not merely achieving victory. Victories without sportsmanship, dignity, honor and respect are hollow.

Regularly use the Language of Sportsmanship

The language of respect should be heard by your players often. If you earn their respect the language you use will become part of their way of communicating. The respect you demonstrate will become part of their behavior.

Expect Sportsmanship in Practice as well as Games

Don't expect good sportsmanship to magically appear in games. Reinforce the habits and practice good sportsmanship daily.

Establish Team Rules, Customs, Rituals and Traditions that Reinforce the Principals of Sportsmanship

Be specific about your expectations of good sportsmanship. Establish team rules that promote that respect. List the rules and put them in the context of good sportsmanship. (Example: Give 100% effort at all times. Only in doing your very best do you show respect to the opponent and your teammates). Develop customs that become traditions. Demand that your team shake hands with the opponent at the conclusion of a game. Allow the team to develop some of its own traditions.

Encourage Players to Take the perspective of Their Opponent

Prior to games talk about what behavior will be if you win, and if you lose. Ask players to imagine being the opponent after a big win. Celebrate the victories, but don't lose sight of what it feels like to fall short of your goals. Talk about how opponents and officials might view your team.

Develop Clear Guidelines for Dealing with Unsportsmanlike

Make it clear from the first meeting how you will deal with actions that violate the principles of good sportsmanship. If taunting, showboating or arguing with officials are not allowed, be specific about the penalty for such actions. Allow yourself the flexibility to decide how serious the violation was and what the process will be. If the team members will have input in the process - outline that as well.

Reinforce Good Sportsmanship

If good sportsmanship really matters, show the players, parents, fans, and student body by rewarding good behavior in some manner. Make sure end-of-season team awards include sportsmanship as a special award or as a critical component to receiving any award.

Communicate the Importance of Sportsmanship to Parents

Prior to the start of the season, meet with the parents of the team members and clearly explain the value you place on sportsmanship. Enlist their help in reinforcing the expectation with their children at home.

Communicate the Importance of Sportsmanship to Fans

Some type of public announcement concerning an expectation of sportsmanship is important. Public address announcements, printed handouts or a welcoming ritual for visiting teams will help set the tone.

Share news Stories Concerning Sportsmanship with Your Student/Player

Use current sport stars in the news as a catalyst for discussion. Talk about news stories - both good and bad - and get players input. Explain how you would deal

with that behavior. Help them see which athletes deserve their respect and which do not.

Talk About Specific Incidents with Your Players

Encourage players to discuss incidents that happen to them during the course of a game. Take advantage of these discussions to applaud good behavior or curb potential bad ones.

Talk About History and Heroes of Sports

Talk about the heroes and origins of the sport to broaden players' perspectives and enrich their sense of participating in something "bigger" than themselves.

Expect Players to Know the Rules

Encourage players to study the rulebook. While watching other games play "You make the call".

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!!

Remember, the sport is a game. It's serious, it matters, and players should compete to win, but remember to PLAY. If participants are not having fun they are not playing the game anymore!

Every day many opportunities occur that administrators and coaches must capitalize on as teachable moments. There are two keys. 1. Learning to recognize a teachable moment. 2. Learning to act so the opportunity to educate is not lost. Following are examples of teachable moments. Challenge yourself to recognize a couple every day and start using the moments in a positive way.


After a hard fought battle your volleyball team loses to its biggest rival. You observe that your coach has allowed the team to exit the gymnasium without shaking hands with their opponent.

What can you do to help the coach understand the importance of showing respect for the other team's accomplishment?

How can you help the coach prepare a team for disappointment?

After a league championship victory, your students storm the court in celebration bumping into and pushing the opposing team members as they attempt to leave the court.

'What can be done prior to the season to educate the student body as to expectations of celebration?

How can the importance of respect for the opponents be stressed?


After a football game as you get on the bus you notice you have forgotten your clipboard in the locker room. Upon going to retrieve it, you enter a locker room trashed with used tape, garbage, empty cups, and dented lockers.

How do you use this moment to emphasize respect for others' property?

What type of communication may have built a foundation to keep this from happening?

Team members are competing hard for the starting position for Friday's big game. One of the stronger players continually taunts others, berating and laughing at their errors, and creating a division in the team.

What can you do to reinforce the idea of team before individuals?

How can your actions support respect for teammates?

Administrators and Coaches may emphasize the importance of good sportsmanship by sending personal letters to student-athletes, cheerleaders, student groups, league members, media members and parents. Here are some examples to help get started:


Section 10 is requesting our assistance in reinforcing and improving the level of sportsmanship displayed at all Interscholastic Athletic events. We have a tremendous

opportunity to have a huge impact on our students and athletes. In order for sports to serve a purpose in the educational system, students must obtain positive educational benefits from participation in school activities. These benefits include; responsibility, self- discipline, respect for self and others, teamwork, work ethic, sportsmanship, integrity and personal sacrifice for others. According to student athletes, the coach is the single most influential person in determining participants' behavior. Take that responsibility very seriously! Following are the expectations of a coach at (Name of School)

List specific expectations


You are responsible for informing your students what is expected of them when they represent (name of school). The coaching staff for the (sports program) has the highest expectations of good sportsmanship and request your assistance in informing the cheerleaders and band members that their help is needed to ensure these expectations are met. The following are the expectations we support:

List specific expectations


On behalf of the athletic department, I would like to congratulate you on your recent selection to the (name of team). I am sure you already know that athletic competition builds character and shapes lifetime attitudes. (Name of School) requests your assistance in promoting the most positive image of students and athletes at this

school. You will be held to the highest level of good sportsmanship. Your sportsmanship goals should include: List specific goals

You are a spokesperson for our school when you represent us in athletic competition. Your actions are viewed by family, friends, children, opposing fans, officials and the media.

Your display of good sportsmanship will show the most positive things about you and our school. We hope this upcoming season is rewarding for you.


On behalf of (name of high school), I would like to congratulate you on your son/daughter's recent selection to (name of team).

I'm sure you are aware that athletic competition builds character and shapes lifetime attitudes. (Name of high school) wants to reinforce and promote the principles of good sportsmanship which are integrity, fairness and respect. A good sport, whether a student or a parent, is a true leader in the community. As a parent of a student at our school, we ask your commitment to reinforce these values with your son/daughter, and to remember that your behavior at games is also a reflection on our programs. We ask your assistance in upholding the highest degree of good sportsmanship by doing the following:

List specific behaviors.

The leadership role you take in sportsmanship will help influence your son/daughter and our community for years to come.

Some samples of Specific Lists: COACHES:

Set good examples by exemplifying the highest moral and ethical behavior Respect the judgment of officials

Shake hands with opposing coaches and officials

Develop and enforce penalties for participants who do not abide by team sportsmanship expectations


Stimulate the crowd response using only positive cheers, signs, actions Keep the crowd focused on our school, especially in tense situations Treat opposing spirit groups and fans with respect Know the rules and strategies of the contest Do not play music during live action Play music that will inspire the crowd to be positive about our team Do not play music or start chants that are negative or derogatory


Realize that athletics are part of the educational experience Encourage students to do their best - don't always focus on winning Learn the rules of the game.

Show respect to the trained officials that have been assigned the game Be a Fan ...not a fanatic!

Pre-contest announcements serve to remind fans, cheerleaders, spectators, and players of their responsibility to create a cooperative, supportive atmosphere for the students learning to play the sport. The following sample announcements are examples of what could be read prior to the contest:

Good evening, (name of school) welcomes you to (name of venue) for tonight's game. We remind you that interscholastic events are an extension of the classroom, and that lessons are best learned when proper respect is shown to all. Please let your good sportsmanship show during the game, and now let's meet the starting lineups...

Good evening, (name of school) welcomes you to (name of venue) for tonight's game. One of the goals of high school athletics is learning lifetime values.

Sportsmanship is one such value that makes games an educational experience. Remember to sport a winning attitude! And now let's meet the starting lineups...

The officials for tonight's game are registered with the Section 10. Their experience and integrity qualify them to administer the rules of the game. Attitudes of good sportsmanship should be upheld by all spectators, players and coaches no matter what their personal feelings or loyalties may be during this contest.

This game is being played according to the rules of Section 10. These rules provide for fair competition among players. Spectators can help promote good sportsmanship by observing the rules of fair play. Everyone is requested to take personal responsibility for keeping this game at a high level of good sportsmanship.

Admission to an interscholastic event is a privilege, and with that privilege comes responsibility - responsibility to conduct yourself in a manner where the game is enjoyable for other fans and participants. (Name of School) reminds you to sport a winning attitude - on the court and in the stands.

Participants must recognize their leadership role, whether a starting member of the team or a substitute. The behavior of team members will serve as a model for parents and students to follow.


  1. Accept and take seriously your responsibility as a player and role model and recognize the privilege of representing your school and community. Demonstrate good sportsmanship at all times - on or off the playing field.

  2. Cooperate with your coaches and follow all school and team rules of conduct.

Before the Game

  1. Shake hands with your opponents and express your gratitude for the competition.

  2. Exhibit a positive and enthusiastic attitude about the contest.

During the Game

  1. When players are knocked down, assist them to their feet.

  2. Offer an expression of "good hustle" after an aggressive play.

  3. Never gesture to officials, players, coaches or spectators in a negative manner.

  4. Keep negative opinions about the officials or coach to yourself. 5. Play as hard as you can within the rules of the game. The greatest sign of respect is to play your very best against your opponent.

After the Game

  1. Extend a congratulatory handshake immediately at the conclusion of the game.

  2. Keep comments to the media focused on your own team, or praise for your opponent.

  3. Never begin celebrating before shaking hands and allowing a losing team to vacate the competition area.

  4. Promote good sportsmanship whenever the opportunity arises.

Cheerleaders must recognize their important role in leading chants and cheers that are appropriate, helping spectators understand the rules of the contest and always representing their school and community in a positive way.


  1. Serve as a positive support group for interscholastic activities.

  2. Strive to boost positive school spirit, promote sportsmanship and develop positive crowd involvement at all contests.

  3. Be prepared to assist administration, or think of creative ways to represent your school and community in a positive way.

Before the Game

  1. Greet the opposing cheerleaders and welcome them to your school.

  2. Show the visiting squad where they can find restrooms, water or changing areas if needed.

  3. Find creative ways to encourage attendance and support for the school team.

During the Game

  1. Lead positive cheers at appropriate times. Cheer when the team enters the playing area, while team members are introduced. Be respectful during the opponents' introductions.

  2. Share performance time equally with the visiting squad and communicate how it will be done.

  3. Develop a plan for dealing with inappropriate spectator actions. Do not let poor sports become a focus.

  4. Always be quiet and respectful during the National Anthem.

After the Game

Thank the opposing squad for coming to your school.

  1. Congratulate your team whether they win or lose the contest.

  2. Help administrators keep the floor clear.

  3. Be available to assist in deterring any problems that may arise as the facility empties.

Band members must recognize their important role in setting a positive, entertaining and energized atmosphere in support of the school's teams. Performing at team competitions is a great time for band members to demonstrate musical talent, assist the cheerleaders by actively participating and following their direction, and by entertaining and leading the other spectators. As school leaders band members will naturally set the tone for the entire crowd.

Before the Game

  1. Arrive and set-up in time to play warm up music and help the team fire up as well as to entertain the spectators prior to the start of the game.

  2. Display school spirit by wearing team colors.

  3. Plan and practice some chants or yells to do in cooperation with the cheerleaders that might include drums or other musical accompaniment.

  4. Meet with visiting band members to discuss how time outs will be shared or when each band will perform.

During the Game

  1. Refrain from playing during live ball situations.

  2. Never play when another band is performing.

  3. Perform music that fires up the team and keeps the spectators involved in the game.

  4. Cooperate with the cheerleaders and be supportive of the chants and cheers they perform.

  5. Refrain from derogatory yells that will antagonize the opponent. Focus on positive yells for your team rather than negative yells about the opponent. "Air Ball, Air Ball", Booing or "You!, You!, You!”; Will not encourage a positive atmosphere.

  6. Negative comments to the officials or about the officials will not promote good sportsmanship.

After the Game

  1. Continue to play until the fans have dispersed.

  2. Be enthusiastic whether the team has won or lost.

Parents play a very important role in setting the standard for behavior among their own children and others in attendance at a contest. It is critical that parents understand their role as role models and assistants in the educational mission at the school.

Before the Game

  1. Learn the rules of the activity in which your child participates.

  2. Become familiar with the rules and policies of the high school as it relates to student/spectator conduct and participants conduct.

  3. Become familiar with the coach's expectations of student-athlete behavior.

  4. Clearly communicate your own personal citizenship expectations to your child. Expect good citizenship at home.

During the Game

  1. Cooperate with the band and cheerleaders by participating in chants and yells.

  2. Focus on the positive plays made by your team and not the mistakes of the opponents.

  3. Assist with game management by discouraging students and other parents from making negative comments or using profanity.

  4. If attending with children, keep additional children with you in a seat.

After the Game

  1. Never run onto the playing area at the conclusion of the contest.

  2. Avoid making negative comments about any coaches, players or officials.

  3. Try to represent the teams, players, coaches and officials in a positive way, regardless of the outcome.

  4. Refrain from criticizing your child, teammates or the coach to your child. Your child has heard from the coach and needs to be reinforced that the coach is doing the best he/she can.

  5. Address any poor sportsmanship issues directly and in private.

"Good Sportsmanship is Good Manners"

Find Role Models

Use natural leaders in your school to help build a foundation of expectations for citizenship and sportsmanship. Cheerleaders, athletes, band members, popular teachers are great in these roles.

Find ways to Recognize Sportsmanship

Student groups should be the first to recognize outstanding citizens in the school.

Student council should create an award.

Balance Recognition of Athletic Ability with Recognition for Academic Success or Community Service Projects:

Good citizens deserve recognition for contributions to a community even more than

outstanding athletes.

Expect Good Citizenship and Sportsmanship

Noteworthy levels of behavior should not be saved for game day only. Your character

should not have a disappearing act.

Take the Perspective of the Opponent and Try to Understand Their Position

There are times and places for displays of pride or celebration. These times should not occur to taunt an opponent or "rub it in their face".

Have Fun without Putting Down Others

Enjoyment can come from excitement and enthusiasm about your own school. It shouldn't have to be generated by degrading others.

Remember to Support the Team, Not to Upstage It!

Good sports show school spirit by supporting the efforts of their team - not by trying to upstage the team with outrageous behavior or calling attention to ones' self.

Displays of Good Sportsmanship - Make them a Habit!

As students and staff members at high school:

  • We will know and understand the rules of the contests we observe.

  • We will be courteous to opponents, fans, administrators and cheerleaders.

  • We will respect and abide by officials' decisions.

  • We will help our teams win with grace and lose with dignity.

  • We will display appreciation for a good performance or play regardless of who makes it.

  • We will cheer for our high school team and refrain from making negative or derogatory comments about the opponent or officials.

  • We will remember that high school athletics are about participation and learning is taking place during the contest.

  • We will support the rules and policies of the school and coach.

    We will remember that good citizenship is not reserved for only athletic events and will practice good citizenship at every opportunity.

    We will make our best effort to represent the community in a positive way, and encourage others to do the same.

    We will not let the actions of a few bad sports represent our high school.

  • We will be leaders in the school and league and represent the best of high school athletics.

We will remember that our actions reflect on our families, classmates and peers just as their actions reflect upon us.

Good Sportsmanship – It’s all about RESPECT!

As a parent of a high school student:

  • I will appreciate all good plays and players whether they compete for my team or against it.

  • I will remember that high school athletics are an extension of the classroom and that learning is taking place.

  • I will not direct negative comments or profanity toward officials, players or coaches.

  • I will respect the abilities and sensitivities of our opponents, the officials and coaches, regardless of the outcome of the contest.

  • I acknowledge that I am not the coach of the team and will leave coaching duties to the person hired for the job.

  • I will promote good sportsmanship within my home as a standard expectation.

  • I will remember that my child has heard constructive criticism about performance from his/her coach and need not hear it from me as well.

  • When the opportunity arises, I will express appreciation to officials for their time and dedication.

  • When asked about a contest I will comment on the positive parts and refrain from representing the activity with only negative observations.

  • Hang up positive banners and posters in team rooms or locker rooms to wish the team well and promote positive enthusiasm.

    1. Develop a method to silence profanity, negative comments or taunting behavior from the students.

    2. Work with students to establish a favorite cheer to build spirit and energy during a contest.

    3. Recognize the best sports at a pep assembly. Give a prize to the winner that rewards positive representation of the school.

    4. Engage the worst sports as enforcers of good sportsmanship policies.

      I will remember that my actions reflect on my children just as my children's actions reflect on me.

      Ways to help reinforce and show good sportsmanship:


      1. Send a team thank you note to students or parents who support the team in a positive way. Mention specific things they do that you like: wear school colors, perform a special cheer when your team scores, etc..

      2. Send a team "Warning Ticket" to specific students or parents that are negative with officials or opponents. Ask them to focus on the positive things your team does as opposed to the other team or officials.

      3. Send a team thank you note to the officials association that service all your games.

      4. Always shake hands with your opponent at the conclusion of the contest and commend their effort.

      5. Help an opponent to their feet when they have been knocked down. Commend an opponent for their hustle or effort.


      1. Form a booster group and invite an official to come to a meeting to review the rules of the activity.

      2. Reinforce good citizenship with your students at home. Make certain there are clearly communicated consequences to poor behavior.

      3. Wear school colors to contests and work with the cheerleaders and band to support the team.

      4. Work with the cheerleaders to develop a cheer that welcomes the opponent to your high school.

      Band / Cheerleaders:

    Every day many opportunities occur that may be used as Teachable Moments. There are two keys: 1. Learning to recognize the moment. 2. Learning to act so the opportunity is not lost. Following are examples of Teachable Moments. Challenge yourself to recognize a couple every day and start using them in a positive way.


    In a close soccer match, you and an opponent are running hard for the ball. There is contact and your opponent falls down hard. The opponent was the last to touch the ball but the official calls it out of bounds off you.

    • How should you react to keep you team focused and prepared for the next play?

    • What can you do to show respect for the opponents effort?

      You are playing the post position in basketball. It is physical and you are taking the worst of the contact. The official calls you for your fifth foul. Your team’s fans and spectators begin to boo the official.

    • What can you do to help the team now?

    • How can you help diminish the poor behavior by the fans?


      Your child doesn’t play much but when he/she finally gets in the game makes several mistakes and is pulled quickly from the game. The score is not close.

    • What actions will show unconditional support for your child?

    • How can you support your child and the coach’s decisions?

      You are seated with several parents who are avid supporters of the school’s football team. During the game some parents shout critical comments toward members of the team for making mistakes and costing the team.

    • How can you help bring the group back to a positive, supportive role?

    • What type of planning, preparation may have kept this type of behavior from occurring in the first place?

Section 10 Athletic Handbook and Sportsmanship Guide (PDF)