Good sportsmanship is viewed by the WIAA in conjunction with the National Federation as a commitment to fair play, ethical behavior and integrity. In perception and practice, sportsmanship is defined as those qualities which are characterized by generosity and genuine concern for others. The ideals of sportsmanship apply equally to all activity disciplines. Individuals, regardless of their role in activities, are expected to be aware of their influence on the behavior of others and model good sportsmanship.
Fundamentals of Sportsmanship
Sportsmanship Reveals Character Regardless of the Final Outcome.
All of us can play an important role in establishing an atmosphere of good sportsmanship, and each member school is encouraged to develop approaches that work best for their community. The following suggestions about how to divide up responsibilities within your school systems are based on the successful experiences of the member schools that serve on the WIAA Sportsmanship Committee.
* Adopt policies that reflect the community’s educational objectives and promote the ideals of good sportsmanship, ethics and integrity.
* Establish standards for athletic participation to reinforce that high school sports activities are a privilege, not a right.
* Remain a policy-making body and allow the administration to interpret and implement your policies. Give support to school officials when difficult disciplinary sportsmanship policies are enforced.
* Attend high school sports activities and be a positive role model for good sportsmanship.
* Support and recognize participants, coaches, school administrators and fans who display good sportsmanship.
* Recognize the value of school activities as a vital part of education.
* Develop and direct a program for teaching and promoting the ideals and fundamentals of good sportsmanship within your schools and your conference as well as among your fellow WIAA members.
* Attend sports activities and be a positive role model for good sportsmanship.
* Provide appropriate supervisory personnel for each interscholastic event.
* Support, recognize and encourage good sportsmanship behavior by participants, coaches, teams and fans.Actively discourage and communicate about undesirable conduct.
* Apply sportsmanship expectations uniformly and consistently.
* Set a good example by exemplifying the highest degree of character, behavior and leadership.
* Respect the integrity and judgment of officials--and accept their decisions.
* Display modesty in victory and graciousness in defeat.
* Shake hands with officials and the opposing coaches in public.
* Follow and teach the rules of the game
* Teach student athletes about good sportsmanship. Acknowledge student-athletes that display good sportsmanship and appropriately address undesirable sportsmanship behavior.
* Respect the integrity and personality of each student-athlete.
* Know and respect the rules of the game.
* Respect opponents and coaches at all times.
* Respect the integrity and judgment of officials--and accept their decisions.
* Respect the property and equipment of others.
* Display self-control in all circumstances. Remember, you are representing your team, your school, your family and your community.
* Be modest in victory and gracious in defeat.
* Shake hands and offer appropriate comments of congratulations or compassion to opponents following the contest.
* Support and cheer for your team and enjoy the skill and competition.
* Cheer in a positive way that respects the efforts of all teams and players involved.
* A ticket is a privilege to observe a high school athletic event, not a right to demonstrate undesirable or inappropriate behavior.
* Know and demonstrate the fundamentals of sportsmanship at all times.
* Remind yourself and others that interscholastic athletics are an extension of the traditional classroom and are learning experiences where mistakes are made. Encourage and commend students’ attempts to improve themselves educationally and athletically.
* Be a positive role model through your own actions, remaining positive and supportive in cheers, signs, and interactions with others.
* Show respect during National Anthem and presentation of the flag.
* Respect school property and school authorities. Remain off the playing/competitive area and never throw anything in the stands or onto the field or floor.
* Respect and support the commitment and efforts of coaches.
* Respect and cooperate with the positive and enthusiastic efforts of cheerleaders.
* Recognize and show appreciation for an outstanding play.
* Participate only in activities and behaviors that are appropriate for school-sponsored events before, during and after games near the site of competitions.
The WIAA in conjunction with the Wisconsin Association of Cheer and Pom Coaches (WACPC) promotes good sportsmanship at all events. Cheerleaders can play an important role in establishing an atmosphere of good sportsmanship.
* Establish standards of desirable sportsmanship behavior and perform cheers for spectators that reflect those standards.
* Respect opposing cheerleaders and bands, and use proper discretion in the timing of cheers. Greet opposing cheerleaders and treat them as guests.
* Respect the property and equipment of others.
* Respect the integrity and judgment of contest officials, and work with supervisors to assist in maintaining appropriate fan behavior.
* Encourage support and respect for injured players.
* Lead positive cheers that encourage and motivate your team, and begin positive cheers when undesirable sportsmanship behaviors begin.
* Be impartial. Announce the contest with no show of favoritism.
* Use proper language at all times.
* Do not anticipate or second guess calls by officials or criticize officials’ decisions, directly or indirectly.
* Be familiar with the venue so that clear directions can be given in an emergency. Help prevent serious situations from developing by working with event administration to remind spectators about not entering the playing area, not throwing items and travel and weather advisories if appropriate.
* Restrict use of the microphone to those in charge of the event or to those who are invited to address the crowd. The announcer is responsible for whatever is said over the public address system.
The information that follows can help guide your efforts to establish a clear, effective and sustainable sportsmanship program.
Responsible behavior at athletic events by student-athletes, coaches, fans, parents, cheerleaders and others is often the result of clearly stated goals and objectives that have been approved by all levels of school administration and placed into practice.
Define Measurable Goals
What would you like to change, improve and sustain in regards to sportsmanship at your school and during athletic events? Are the differences between good sportsmanship and unsportsmanlike behavior clearly stated and communicated to all?
School Board Statement
Are the philosophy and goals of your interscholastic athletic activities program adopted by the Board of Education? Is sportsmanship emphasized as part of your educational activities?
Athletic Policy Manual
Is sportsmanship emphasized in the coaching manual and materials distributed to your student-athletes and parents?
Do your district administrator, principal and athletic director support and emphasize common sportsmanship goals?
Do staff, school and league meetings emphasize the importance of educationally sound athletic experiences?
Are desirable behaviors articulated and reinforced through your game programs, flyers, tickets, preseason meetings, assemblies, contests, parent meetings and announcements?
How will you measure success in achieving your sportsmanship goals?
Are positive behaviors acknowledged?
Does your district have a contingency plan to respond to critical situations at athletic events such as medical emergencies, extreme weather, fire and violence.
Ideas to Consider for Improving Sportsmanship
1. Develop a Code of Sportsmanship approved by all levels of your administration and print a copy of it in event programs, on signs, banners and posters.
2. Review the Code of Sportsmanship with the student body, coaches, teams, cheerleaders and band members.
3. Begin a Sportsmanship column in your school newspaper and a social media campaign that identifies and recognizes groups and/or individuals who demonstrate good sportsmanship.
4. Send a letter to the visiting teams’ principal, athletic director, coach and cheerleading squad welcoming them to your school.
5. Prepare and give to adult fans a sheet stating the following: “The (Name of your school) High School student body invites our adult fans to join us in demonstrating good sportsmanship.”
6. Post “Welcome” signs in each team’s locker room.
7. Have the P.A. announcer welcome guests.
8. Organize a sportsmanship committee to create and enhance positive relationships among the schools and communities involved in an athletic event.
9. Use pre-game announcements to help promote good sportsmanship throughout the contest.
10. Use social media to promote good sportsmanship throughout the year.
Suggested Timetable for Implementing a Sportsmanship Campaign
* Distribute information with a sportsmanship focus to various publics
* Discuss the value of sportsmanship with fall coaches and athletes
* Create a committee made up of school administrators, coaches, student-athletes, parents, etc., to discuss and monitor the sportsmanship efforts in your school
* Sponsor an evening assembly for fans of fall sports teams, using school team members, coaches and local officials to emphasize rule interpretations and changes for the coming season
* Talk with your crowd control event staff and public address announcers about how they can support good sportsmanship during events
* Launch a year-round program that invites administrators, coaches, athletes, students and non-school spectators to sign a pledge-card stating they will work to promote good sportsmanship
* Develop and distribute social media content to promote your sportsmanship campaign
* Create and distribute brochures and display posters promoting the sportsmanship campaign
* Send news release to local media announcing your school’s commitment to demonstrating sportsmanship at high school athletic events
* Address the value of good sportsmanship in homerooms at school
* Use sportsmanship themes and graphics in printed materials produced at school
* Send fall public service announcements to local radio stations
* Discuss the possibility of attending the WIAA Sportsmanship Summit each even year or conducting a league/conference meeting each year, addressing sportsmanship and rating the sportsmanship at each school
* Plan a creative competition between student organizations that showcases sportsmanship themes (poster contest, slogan contest, etc.) on social media
* Discuss sportsmanship, ethics and integrity as topics in the classroom with selected instructors
* Emphasize good sportsmanship in school announcements as fall tournaments approach
* Plan an activity around National Sportsmanship Day during High School Activities Week
* Conduct a league/conference meeting on sportsmanship, addressing immediate concerns and plans for remainder of school year
* If teams advance to the State Tournament, identify winning the WIAA/Rural Mutual Sportsmanship Award as a priority
* Discuss the value of sportsmanship with winter coaches and athletes
* Develop an editorial for the school newsletter and a Letter to the Editor for your local newspaper addressing positive sportsmanship efforts
* Sponsor an evening assembly for fans of winter sports teams. Ask school team members, coaches and local officials to emphasize sportsmanship and explain rule interpretations and changes for the coming season
* Send out winter public service announcement to local radio stations
* Compile league/conference sportsmanship ratings for fall sports
* If teams advance to the State Tournament, identify winning the WIAA Sportsmanship Award as a priority.
* Contact an editorial writer at a local newspaper or host of a local radio or television talk show about an editorial or special program on sportsmanship in society and your school’s role in promoting it
* Emphasize good sportsmanship in school announcements and social media as winter tournaments approach
* Develop a school-wide essay or cartoon contest for students to have them communicate their thoughts on sportsmanship
* Discuss value of sportsmanship with spring coaches and athletes
* Sponsor an evening assembly for fans of spring sports teams. Ask school team members, coaches and local officials to emphasize sportsmanship and explain rule interpretations and changes for the coming season
* Send out spring public service announcement to local radio stations
* Compile league/conference sportsmanship ratings for winter sports
* Evaluate, recognize and reward those who participated in sportsmanship efforts
* Evaluate your sportsmanship efforts and report your results to the community through letters, newsletters and social media that reach into homes
* Emphasize good sportsmanship in school announcements as spring tournaments approach
* Conduct a follow-up league/conference sportsmanship meeting to evaluate efforts made during the past year and to set goals for the coming year
* If teams advance to the State Tournament, identify winning the WIAA Sportsmanship Award as a priority
* Compile league/conference sportsmanship ratings for spring sports
* Begin planning your sportsmanship program for the next school year
Public Address Message Scripts
Sportsmanship Goals: Pre-State Video (Waupun)
Dear Fans Letter by Mark Horbinski (Necedah)
Conference Award Samples
Big Rivers Conference
Heart O' North Conference
Southwest Activities League
Courses & Materials
"Sportsmanship. It's Up To You" Program Kit - $19.95
"Sportsmanship" NFHS Learn Course - Free
"Positive Sports Parenting" NFHS Learn Course - Free
Teaching and Modeling Behavior" NFHS Learn Course - $20
We also may solicit input from hotels, restaurants and business people in the city where WIAA State events take place in order to make appropriate measurements. relative to the sportsmanship of communities and teams as they attend State Tournament competition. Sportsmanship by coaches and fans at regional and sectional contests prior to the State Tournament may also be taken into consideration.
Taking part in a WIAA State Tournament is a unique and memorable experience. When fans and participants emphasize good sportsmanship, we enhance that experience for everyone involved.
Sportsmanship Award Criteria
Sportsmanship Award Evaluation Form
Award Recipient History
Sportsmanship PLUS Reports
NFHS Learning Course-Sportsmanship
Why Sportsmanship Matters
Past Sportsmanship Award Winners
Sportsmanship Award Criteria
To be read immediately before player introductions
“___________________, ___________________, and the WIAA require good sportsmanship at education-based sporting events. Attendance at interscholastic activities is a privilege with the expectation to exhibit positive and respectful behavior. For the enjoyment and respect of all in attendance, your cooperation in demonstrating the high ideals of sportsmanship is expected and greatly appreciated.
NCAA Eligibility Info
Rules Meetings & Exams
NFHS HS Today
Guide for Officials
Become an Official
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