Sportsmanship Summit


The WIAA, in cooperation with Rural Mutual Insurance Company, will conduct the Sportsmanship Summit Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, at the Holiday Inn & Convention Center in Stevens Point, Wis.

Registration is open to all member schools. Each registered school team will consist of five members that can include students, coaches, administrators, booster clubs or members of the community. It’s your choice. The deadline to register a team for the Summit is Monday, Nov. 15. Registrations will be processed in the order they are received, and registrations after capacity is reached or after the deadline will be placed on a waiting list. Schools may register for more than one team, but priority will be given to schools registering one team if registration capacity is reached, which may be impacted by local COVID guidelines and capacity limitations.

The Summit is scheduled to begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. with the first session starting at 9 a.m. The cost of the event is $150 per team, which includes Summit materials, a commemorative t-shirt and lunch.

The purpose of the Summit is to assist membership schools with their citizenship and sportsmanship efforts for students, student-athletes, adult fans, advisors, parents and booster clubs; developing plans to improve or maintain good sportsmanship locally; and assisting schools identify and implement a safe, respectful and education-based environment for high school sports.

The Summit will feature two keynote addresses and three time slots for five different break-out sessions, which focus on the ideals of sportsmanship/citizenship. The morning keynote address will be presented by Craig Hillier, author of Playing Beyond the Scoreboard. The afternoon keynote address will be presented by Shawna Nichols, the hype DJ for the Milwaukee Bucks.  

Participants will also attend three morning break-out sessions. The subjects for the five, 40-minute break-out presentations available during the three time slots are “My Coach Plays Favorite” by Mark Horbinski of WON80 and a member of the WIAA Sportsmanship Committee; “Sportsmanship: The Official’s Prospective” by Thaddeaus Hilliard, veteran WIAA licensed official; “Setting Sportsmanship Guidelines for Parents”  by Jenny Bandow, athletic director at Luxemburg-Casco and member of the Sportsmanship Committee; and “Sportsmanship Roundtable Discussions,” presented by the Union Grove S.A.L.T. program and moderated by LeVar Ridgeway, assistant director at the WIAA.

The link to the online registration form is on the Sportsmanship Summit page of the WIAA website at

Schools interested in registering for the 2021 Sportsmanship Summit should complete the online registration form by Monday, Nov. 15. Please contact the WIAA with any questions regarding the Summit by calling (715) 344-8580, or by emailing to

Schools wishing to reserve hotel rooms the night prior to the Summit should contact the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point directly at (715) 344-0200. The room rate for the Summit is $109 for a single or double.



STEVENS POINT, Wis.  – More than 725 students and administrators of 122 teams representing 106 member high schools attended the 2018 WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Summit held Wednesday in Stevens Point, Wis.
Schools from throughout the state were in attendance at the Holiday Inn & Convention Center. Each school was represented by a six-member team consisting of students, school administrators, coaches, school board members, media and/or community leaders.
The mission of the Sportsmanship Summit was to strengthen the principles of sportsmanship by promoting teamwork, sharing resources and providing the impetus to make a difference in member schools. 

The event was intended to assist schools in addressing citizenship and sportsmanship values with students, student-athletes, adult fans, advisors, parents and booster clubs; developing plans to improve and maintain sportsmanship; and setting sportsmanship expectations.

The Summit began with a brief welcome from WIAA Executive Director Dave Anderson, followed by morning keynote speaker Craig Hillier, professional speaker and author of Playing Beyond the Scoreboard.

Five 40-minute breakout sessions followed with each topic being presented three times: The five topics of the five breakout sessions were: “The Coach and Participants Role in Sportsmanship” by Mark Maas, veteran teacher and coach, and State track & field color commentator on the NFHS Network; “Obtaining Victory with Virtue” by Mark Horbinski of WON80 and a member of the WIAA Sportsmanship Committee; “Sportsmanship: The Official’s Perspective” by Thaddeaus Hilliard, veteran WIAA licensed official; “Peer Sportsmanship Leadership” by Athletic Directors Aaron May of Waunakee and Sportsmanship Committee member, and Eric Nee of Sun Prairie; and “Sportsmanship Roundtable Discussions” moderated by Amy Vesperman, superintendent at Plum City, and Jenny Bandow, athletic director at Luxemburg-Casco. They are also members of the WIAA Sportsmanship Committee.

After lunch, the assembly heard comments from Eric Coleman, president of the WIAA Board of Control, and Mike Lubahn, director of marketing for Rural Mutual Insurance. The afternoon keynote address by Lance Allan, WTMJ-TV sports reporter and Wisconsin Sports Reporter of the Year in 2005 and 2012, closed the program.

WIAA member schools that attended the Summit are listed below.

Abundant Life Christian
Audubon Technology
Catholic Central
Divine Savior Holy Angels
East Troy
Fall River
Fox Valley Lutheran
Green Bay East
Johnson Creek
Kenosha St. Joseph Catholic
Kettle Moraine Lutheran
Lake Mills
Madison Country Day
Manitowoc Lutheran
Menominee Indian
Milw. Wis Conservatory of Lifelong Learning
Milwaukee Bay View
Milwaukee Bradley Tech
Milwaukee Hamilton
Milwaukee Juneau
Milwaukee King
Milwaukee Riverside
Milwaukee Reagan
Milwaukee Washington
New Glarus
Northland Pines
Oconto Falls
Oshkosh West
Port Edwards
Racine St. Catherine’s
Random Lake
River Falls
River Valley
Union Grove
University School of Milwaukee
Valley Christian - Oshkosh
Waukesha North
Waukesha South   
Waukesha West   
Wausau East
Wausau West
Wauwatosa East   
Wauwatosa West   
Wayland Academy
West Bend West
West Salem
Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln

The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 511 senior high schools and 46  junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It will sponsor 27 championship tournament series in 2018-19. 

#  WIAA #


Sportsmanship Definition & Fundamentals

Sportsmanship (sports'·man·ship')

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

  1. Show respect for self and others at all times.

  2. Show respect for the officials. Good sportsmanship implies the willingness to accept and abide by the decisions of the officials.

  3. Know, understand and appreciate the rules of the contest. Good sportsmanship suggests the importance of conforming to the spirit as well as the letter of the rules.

  4. Maintain self-control at all times. Prevent the desire to win from overcoming rational behavior.

  5. Recognize and appreciate skill in performance regardless of team affiliation.

Sportsmanship Reveals Character Regardless of the Final Outcome.

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Suggested Responsibilities for Developing Sportsmanship

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. 

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School Board

* 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.


School Administration

* 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.

* Know and respect the rules of the game.

* Respect the integrity and judgment of officials--and accept their decisions.

* 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.

* Know and respect the rules of the game.

* 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.


Public Address

* 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.


School Sportsmanship Campaign Model

The information that follows can help guide your efforts to establish a clear, effective and sustainable sportsmanship program. 

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Goal Setting

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? 

Administrative Support

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?

Contingency Plan

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

Additional Resource Materials

NFHS Resources

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 - FREE

"Appropriate Social Media for Athletics" NFHS Learn Course - FREE


WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award

An important part of our emphasis on sportsmanship is the WIAA/Rural Insurance State Tournament Sportsmanship Award program. At each of the WIAA State Team Tournaments, one school and community is selected to receive the Rural Insurance State Sportsmanship Award, with honorable mention recognition also given to schools who are under consideration for the overall award.  State events where the award is given include football, soccer, team tennis, volleyball, girls & boys basketball, gymnastics, hockey, team wrestling, baseball & softball.

The selection process for the State Tournament Sportsmanship Awards includes input from contest officials, tournament management, police and security personnel, crowd control and ushers, and WIAA Staff members. These observers judge the conduct and sportsmanship of coaches and athletes, cheer and support groups, mascots, bands, student groups and adult spectators. Also measured is the effort by school administrators and chaperones during the tournament to keep the support for their teams and student-athletes positive and enthusiastic.

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.

The WIAA considers the Rural Insurance State Tournament Sportsmanship Award a prestigious honor. It’s truly a community award and one that grows in stature and importance as the years pass.  The key to good sportsmanship at WIAA State events is preparation. Just as the athletes and coaches prepare for their competition, school administrators can lay the groundwork with fans and students prior to their State Tournament appearance in announcements and at pep rallies, parents meetings, booster club gatherings, etc.  

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