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The Bad Acts pages list specific acts of unsportsmanlike conduct.  Due to the extensive number of these incidents, these acts are listed on the current bad acts page and in the bad acts archives.


Good Acts


Andover, MA - February 18, 2015 - Andover High's hockey team lends support to rival whose mother was murdered.  See Hockey Hearts Aplenty; Golden Warriors Show Support For Opposing Player In Need by Judy Wakefield, Andover Townsman, February 18, 2015.


Merrimack, NH - January 23, 2015 - With a cheer of "Sorry, Johnson" the Merrimack High School Students both apologized to their principal and affirmed their commitment to cease using profane and derogatory cheers.  The students turned what could have been a bad moment into a good one.  A mere two weeks ago, Merrimack principal Ken Johnson barred the same student supporters from a game until they could cheer without resorting to profanity and negativity.  As Johnson phrased it, Merrimack fans "Don't Do Stupid!"  Turns out the students took it to heart.  See Student Fans Improve Behavior by George Scione, Merrimack Journal, January 23, 2015.


Thermal, CA - August 29, 2014 - The Redskins Nickname is Controversial, But It's Not The Worst.  A California high school just retired the most offensive mascot in the country - a hook-nosed stereotype of an Arab.  The school did not change its nickname, though.  They're still proud to be the Coachella Valley High School Arabs.  Kudos for dumping the mascot, but more is needed.  Dump the name.  See California School Retires Divisive Arab Mascot, San Francisco Chronicle, September 3, 2014; and Coachevella High School Retires "Arab" Mascot by Brett Kelman, Palm Springs Desert Sun, August 29, 2014.  Oddly, the Coachella Valley area does not have a significant Arab population as far as I can tell.  The reports indicate that the school named itself the Arabs because of the prevalence of "date" farming, thereby linking itself to the fruit which is popular in the Arab world.  This story isn't perfect: any school nicknamed the Arabs is going to have an Arab mascot.  Coachella Valley has simply created a more palatable "Arab" mascot.  Oh well, the path of progress does move slowly.  Now, Arabs and Indians may be offended, but it may be worse to be gay.  There's a football keep away game that could easily be called keep away or kill the man with the ball, but, no, that's not descriptive enough.  The game has been passed down for generations as "Smear the Queer."  Here's an article on the game, written by someone who thinks it's a relic of a distant path.  It's not.  Even today kids are playing "Smear the Queer."  See Did You Play Smear The Queer As A Kid? by Michael Helfand, Chicago's Real Law Blog, April 17, 2013.  I contend that Smear The Queer is worse because most kids will realize that the Redskins, the hook-nosed Arab mascot, and the other stupid mascots are symbols.  Designating the person to be tackled in  a game of keep away as "the queer" is divorced from a cartoon image, and simply conveys the notion that it's not to cool to be the "queer."  The kids playing the game may be too young to even know what the "queer" is, but after a childhood of negative connotations to being the queer, the fag and other non-masculine connotations, they'll eventually figure out that queer can't be too good once they meet an actual gay person.  I don't think most people have a connotation of an Indian at all - or if they do, it's probably not based on the Indian mascots as those mascots represent a distant past and are divorced from present day reality.  It would be, to some extent, like naming a team the Birmingham Black Slaves (I guess the mascot could be a slave saying, "yes, massa").  We would be offended.  But, most people wouldn't think that present day blacks walk around saying "yes, massa."  Of course, the notion of the Birmingham Black Slaves probably tells you why we should dump the Redskins and other Indian mascots.  Society has reached a point where it recognizes that perpetuating the negative myths of a bygone era may impact people from the same racial group in the present.  So, if we're going to use a name to symbolize the fighting spirit of a racial or national group, we should pick groups that are so divorced from present day reality that everybody can clearly see that there's no link to the present.  For example, I contend that there's probably nothing offensive about the Racine Roman Legion.  I don't think Italians would link them to present day reality.  Or you could have the San Jose Spartans (oh, that's right, we do have that).  I don't think anybody in Greece would object unless we picked a really stupid, comic Greek stereotype for a mascot. 


June 2, 2014 - Click here for USA Softball's 4 steps on starting the sportsmanship conversation.


Michigan – March, 2014 – The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s creative Battle of The Fans program has schools competing to be the most sportsmanlike.  See ‘Battle of The Fans’ Changing Culture In Michigan, reported by Geoff Kimberly, NFHS High School Today, March, 2014 page 20.


Minnesota - March 8, 2014 - Wrestler Inspires With Sportsmanship After Losing in State Title Match, The Post Game, March 9, 2014.  After losing the championship wrestling match, Malik Stewart embraced his opponent's cancer stricken father.  The ugly acts are often reported, but our sporting world does offer countless positive acts, too. This was but one of those acts, and it was an act of the highest order. 


Urbana, Ohio - June 2, 2012 - Meghan Vogel of Ohio's West Liberty-Salem High School showed the ultimate in sportsmanship at the 2012 Ohio State Track Championships.  Vogel saw Arden McMath, one of her opponents, struggling to finish and then collapsing on the track.  Vogel then stopped her own race to pick McMath up and carry her to the finish in an act of pure unselfishness.  See High School Runner Carries Opponent Across Finish Line, ABC News, June 5, 2012, and Prep Runner Carries Foe To Finish Line reported by Doug Binder, ESPN, June 5, 2012.



Santa Cruz, CA - February 13, 2012 - Sportsmanship: California’s Scotts Valley High School gets it.  Click here to see for yourself.

And, if you want some contrast, click on the yahoo sports blog’s article, What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent - and What Makes A Great One by Steve Henson, The Postgame: Yahoo Sports Blog, February 15, 2012. 


The Scotts Valley students and Henson both recognize one of the core truths of good sportsmanship.  People involved in a sports contest must know their role, and stay in it.  Coaches coach.  They don’t officiate or tell officials how to officiate.  Spectators and parents cheer.  That’s their role.  Their role is not to tell the coach what to do, or try to coach the players or intimidate the officials.  We all have a role and problems often start when people at a youth sports contest stray from their role.  For more on knowing your role, and keeping it sportsmanlike see one of my old articles.  Sportsmanship’s Golden Rule: Know Your Role and Stay Within It. 



Acton, CA - November 6, 2011 - Think you've overcome tough hurdles?  Think again.  Taylor Howell plays high school football, and he's blind.  Now that's an obstacle.  How does he do it?  Click here for Blindness Not Enough To Sideline California Teen reported by Gloria Hillard, NPR, November 6, 2011.


2011 - What's High School Sports All About?  Click here for a video on the Tikiqag School in Alaska.  A school with only 60 students that is so isolated that it has to fly to its games.


Andover, MN - September 16, 2011 - Andover Cross Country Runner Carries Wounded Competitor To Help, KARE - TV, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, September 23, 2011.  There are times when winning isn't the most important thing.  Cross Country runner Josh Ripley of Andover High realized this, and carried an injured competitor a half mile back to the starting line after his opponent suffered a cut that ultimately required 20 stitches. 


Louisville, Ohio - August 29, 2011 - AD Defends Excessive Celebration Penalty Called Against His School - Even Though His School Had A Most Sympathetic Reason For Their Celebration.  Louisville High School's Alex Schooley was called for an excessive celebration penalty after scoring a fourth quarter touchdown with 1:15 remaining in the game.  The penalty helped Louisville's opponent gain good field position, and ultimately helped them get into position for a game winning kick.  Schooley was penalized for pointing at the sky after his score, but he had good cause.  His friend had died and Schooley was one of the pallbearers.  In short, this was an understandable gesture - but it was only understandable if you knew Schooley and knew what had occurred.  If you didn't, then the penalty was simply an act of rules enforcement.  And that's the whole point.  We have excessive celebration rules to deter a team sport from being marred by acts of self-aggrandizement.  Officials are supposed to enforce those rules, and they're not supposed to waive the rules for subjective factors.  Of course, it is most unlikely that the officials knew why Schooley was celebrating.  However, what if they did?  Do we want officials to arbitrarily waive rules based on their sympathy with one player?  This may be a sympathetic starting point, but where would it stop.  Anyway, you know what happened after the game ... or at least you think you know.  Yes, the hometown fans ripped the mean old official, and Hank Zaborniak, the assistant commissioner for the state high school sports association, explained the rationale behind the rule.  See After Losing Friend, Player Penalized For Show of Emotion, reported by Dave Nethers, Fox Channel 8, Louisville, August 29, 2011.  However, the story doesn't end with the fans ripping the official and the state governing body looking like bureaucrats.  Oh, no.  One man rose above it all.  Louisville Athletic Director Rich Venuto went on television the day after the game, and pointed out that the official did exactly what he was supposed to do, and stated that he hoped his fans would accept the call and move on.  See AD Responds To Call That Penalized Show of Emotion, reported by Dave Nethers, Fox Channel 8, Louisville, August 30, 2011; and An Unpopular Stance by R. J. Anderson, Athletic Management Blog, September 5, 2011.  The AD is correct here.  There are lessons to be learned in sports.  One lesson, which is particularly painful, is that we must display the attributes that we value even in the most adverse moments.  This was the most adverse moment, and we should sympathize with the student who was penalized.  However, we must also do what the AD did, and tell that child and his supporters that even though we sympathize, we are still held to our standard. 



Cleveland, OH - July 15, 2011 - Retired Baseball Coach Teaches Sportsmanship/Life Lessons.  See Retired Coach Gives Parents Advice On How To Watch Kids Sports Events by Reece Rutland, Cleveland Daily Banner, July 15, 2011.


Compton, CA - July 5, 2011 - Student Splits 40k In Winnings Among Runners-Up,, July 5, 2011.  Allan Guei, a Compton High basketball player, won a $40,000 free throw shooting contest.  He could have kept the money without violating NCAA rules.  Guei asked to have the winnings split amongst the seven contest runner-ups because he had a college scholarship and wanted to give his classmates a chance to get a down payment on their college tuition.  This is a very good act.  Just ask all the people who got to share in the kindness of a "good winner."  What a guy.


San Mateo, CA - May 25, 2011 - The Good Side of Track: The Good Teammate!  San Mateo Athlete Gives Up Spot In Championship So Teammate Can Compete.  See Selfless Act Allows Two Dons Into CCS by Julio Lara, San Mateo Daily Journal, May 25, 2011.


Oakland, CA - May 18, 2011 - It's pretty well documented that inner-city kids aren't playing a lot of baseball.  The economic barriers to access the sport are sufficiently high to make baseball tough to organize in the inner city.  We've seen a lot of programs trying to help inner city kids gain access to baseball.  Probably the most famous of these programs is the Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities program run by Major League Baseball.  Well, add Jeff Humphrey to these programs.  No, not the Jeff Humphrey program - just Jeff Humphrey.  Jeff's a one-man band, going around getting equipment donations that sustain a number of youth programs in Oakland and other East Bay cities.  To see how Jeff does it, read Baseball's Robin Hood by Paul Gackle, East Bay Express, May 18, 2011.


April 1, 2011 - Alyvia Clark from Ohio and Nathaneal Franks from Oregon were recently named the winners of the 2010 National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Scholarship/Essay program.  Click here for detailsClick here for Alyvia's essay, and click here for Nathaneal's essay.


California - March 15, 2011 - This posting contains a little bit of good, and a little bit of bad.  Think Nobody’s Watching?  The Sacramento Bee is, and they’re seeing the best and worst of sportsmanship in California’s Basketball Playoffs.  See Hometown Report: Good Sports – and bad – On Full Display In High School Basketball Playoffs by Joe Davidson, Sacramento Bee, March 15, 2011. 


San Jose, CA - March 14 - 2011 - Mom and son call injured rival lacrosse player after a high-school lacrosse game between Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton, CA, and St. Francis of San Jose.  They called because it was the right thing to do.  This is sportsmanship: the recognition of the value of one's opponent, and the concern about his well being even when you're trying to beat him on the field of play.  Kudos to the Tinsley family of Sacred Heart prep.  It should also be noted that there's a right way to receive an act of grace.  Kudos to the athletic director of St. Francis of San Jose.  He made sure that the Tinsleys knew how much the St. Francis family appreciated their call.


March 1, 2011 - "Sportsmanship is needed on and off the field, at home, in the classroom and even at your job."  Michael Dunbar, 5th grader at Evansdale Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia, winner of the National Sportsmanship Day Essay Contest, Elementary School Division.  Click here to read Michael's essayClick here for the elementary, middle school, high school, and college winners. This year's National Sportsmanship Day was March 1, 2011. 


Lincoln, NE - 2011 - The power of good sportsmanship.  Sportsmanship is so valuable that it appears where you would least expect it.  Click here to see sportsmanship training as part of a Nebraska 4-h Horse Program for youth


Detroit, MI - September 21, 2010 - Inner City Football Coach Steps Up To The Plate - Develops Athletes of Character.  Detroit Loyola's John Callahan runs innovative internship and mentor programs, and still produces a winning football team.  See Detroit Loyola Is Producing Good Football Players, And Men, by Rod Beard, The Detroit News, September 21, 2010.


Springfield, MA - August 12, 2010 - Alfreda Harris Recognized By Basketball Hall of Fame: We know the Basketball Hall of Fame is about the Pippens, Jordans, Magics and Birds.  But, most of us don't know that it's also about Alfreda Harris.  That's right.  Alfreda Harris!  Ms. Harris received the Basketball Hall of Fame's Mannie Jackson award for lifelong accomplishments on behalf of her community.  She's what basketball and education are all about.  Harris is a Boston school board member, and former JC basketball.  She has been a vital part of the Boston community, molding and saving countless lives through her SAT Prep Program, her city after-school basketball programs, her work with Reebok to bring computers and tutors into areas sorely lacking in educational essentials.  Of course, she's done far more than this.  So if you were wondering who the 72-year old lady was who received an award from the Basketball Hall of Fame, well, she's the embodiment of all the great people who use sports and education to save communities.  See High Honors For Alfreda Harris: Hall of Famer In More Ways Than One by Joe Fitzgerald, Boston Herald, August 14, 2010; and Alfreda Harris Recognized by Basketball Hall of Fame, Boston Public Schools Blog, June 30, 2010.


Chicago, IL -  May 5, 2010 - Golfer Loses Hole on Purpose - Let's Opponent Advance To National Championship Tournament.  Good sportsmanship or demeaning to the opponent?  Under NAIA rules, the winning team and winning individual in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference advance to nationals.  University of St. Francis golfer Grant Whybark's team had won so he was assured of advancing.  Whybark had also qualified for a playoff for the individual title against Seth Doran of Olivet Nazarene College.  Whybark intentionally mishit his ball so his opponent could advance, sacrificing his chance to win the individual title.  This gracious gesture showed respect for an opponent as Whybark confirmed, stating, "It was one of those things where I couldn't feel good taking something from him like this.  My goal from the start was to get to nationals with my team.  I had already done that...I felt Seth deserved to go to nationals just as much as I did."  Some believe this is good sportsmanship.  Others think it's demeaning to tank the match.  The rules may be the problem here.  It is common for the winning team and the low individual from one of the non-winning teams to advance.  Doing so eliminates the incentive for a golfer to tank the match to help an opponent.  Allowing the low scorer from the non-winning team to advance also prevents the falsification of scores in tournaments that are less visible.  For more, see When Losing A Golf Tournament Really Makes You A Winner by Shane Bacon,, May 5, 2010; and Honor or Not? Golfer Prompts Debate, ESPN.Com, May 6, 2010.


Mount Gilead, Ohio - January 2010 - Van Houten Awarded For Sportsmanship, ESPN.Com.  College golfer Adam Van Houten wins a National Sportsman of The Decade Award for disqualifying himself for a scorecard error when he was leading a high school golf tournament by seven strokes back in 2005.  A class-act deserving of recognition.  Also See, Scorecard Confession Earns Ohio Golfer Sportsmanship Award, The Golf Channel.


Cypress, CA - March, 2009 - Losing Soccer Team Pitches In To Donate Money So Winners Can Travel to a State Youth Soccer Tournament.  This one touches your heart.  A losing soccer team from Cypress, CA helped its opponent from Huntington Park raise enough money for a bus to Davis, CA to attend a U-10 state soccer tournament. See An Amazing Story of Sportsmanship,, March 25, 2009.


Fortville, IN - March, 2009 - Principal Takes Stand For Sportsmanship By Telling Coaches, "No Arguing With Officials."  This policy (which has actually been in effect at Mount Vernon High School For 10 years now) and its sportsmanship ramifications are detailed in Coaches: No Arguing With Officials by Paige Flynn, High School Today, March, 2009 page 18.

Edina, MN - March 23, 2009 - Leave for a prep school?  Enter the National Development Program?  No!  These hockey players stayed with their high school team because, "I wouldn't give up growing up with my friends for anything.?  See Be True To Your School by Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated, March 23, 2009 page 26. 


Milwaukee, WI - February 7, 2009 - This Team Scores By Missing.  DeKalb High School Supports A Grieving Opponent By Intentionally Missing Two Free Throws.  See Team's Gesture Supports Grieving Opponent, ESPN Rise, February 18, 2009; and Amid The Grieving, A Rare Act Of Sportsmanship, Associated Press in, February 18, 2009.


Michigan - Jan. 19, 2009 - Click here for a Michigan Official's Letter to The Spectators.  


Minooka, IL - October 23, 2008 - Four Parents Charge The Court At Middle School Basketball Game ... And They Save The Official.  See Parents Use AED To Save Stricken Ref by Heidi Terry-Litchfield, Morris Daily Herald, October 25, 2008.  Think this story is unique?  Think again.  Refs were saved on December 5, 2008 in East Hampton, NY and on Jan 6, 2009 in Ellinwood, KS.  See Referee's Close Call: When Official Collapses in Cardiac Arrest, Spectators Take Charge, Saving His Life, Hutchinson News (Kansas), January 14, 2009, and Ref Revived at Hoops Game, East Hampton Star, December 11,2008.  For both stories see


September, 2008 - Colorado Cheer Coach Wins NFHS Spirit of Sport Award.  Tammy Dufford, cheerleading coach at Evergreen (Colorado) High School, and her freshman cheerleader, Megan Bomgaars, are the 2008 national recipients of the NFHS "National High School Spirit of Sport Award."   Bomgaars, who has Downs Syndrome, joined the Evergreen Cheer team.  Her mother was grateful, and told Coach Dufford that she'd understand if Bomgaars wasn't used in competition.  Coach Dufford said nonsense, we're a team (not an exact quote).  The Coach worked with Bomgaars, and the team placed third at the Jefferson County league meet and won the small varsity division in regional competition.  This is an excellent example that sports can help people maximize their abilities - even if they are developmentally challenged.  It also shows us the meaning of character, and that a coach can instill team values under any circumstances.  See Colorado Cheer Coach Puts Individual Ahead of Team Championship.


August 2008, Football Players from Lowell High School, in Lowell, Michigan, Use Football As A Community Service Tool To Fight Breast Cancer.  The Lowell Red Arrows donned pink jerseys and became the Lowell Pink Arrows in their September 12, 2008 home game, with all game proceeds donated to breast cancer charities.  See Lowell Football Team Thinks Pink For Cancer by Jane Bos, Grand Rapids Press, August 12, 2008;  for video see Lowell Red Arrows Turn Pink, WZZM 13 in Michigan, August 28, 2008 


May, 2008  Sportsmanship Like No Other (opponents carry injured player around bases in college game) ABC News, May 1, 2008, and Central Washington Offers The Ultimate Act of Sportsmanship, ABC News, May 2, 2008.


February 2008 - The Edwardsville High School (Illinois) Wrestling Team: Edwardsville advanced to the Illinois State Wrestling Tournament, defeating Granite City High School.  Edwardsville coach Jon Wagner realized a scoring error had been made and self-reported.  The Illinois High School Association initially upheld the result because it was too late to change the result.  Edwardsville insisted, and the IHSA ultimately reversed the result.  Edwardsville won by losing.  Click here for this and other acts of sportsmanship


October 29, 2006 - Framingham Women's Soccer: The Framingham State College women's soccer team were awarded a goal, but realized that the shot actually went through the side netting instead of the front of the goal.  The team informed the officials, but a call's a call and the officials let the goal stand.  So Framingham took matters into their own hand by allowing their opponent, Bridgewater State, to score to even up the game.  Yes, it cost them.  Framingham eventually lost the game.  However, they did the right thing.  Click here for Framingham State Women's Soccer Team Receives NCAA Sportsmanship Award., a Sept. 25, 2007 press release from the Framingham State Athletic Office.




April 2010 - Josephson Institute's Latest Survey Shows That Most Coaches and Athletes Have Ethical Attitudes About Sports.  See Most Coaches Do It Right 665.1, Commentary by Michael Josephson,, April 1, 2010 (and don't ask me why Professor Josephson has the number "665.1" in the title.  I'm sure he has a very good reason).


March 2010 - The Family Violence Prevention Fund's Coaching Boys Into Men Program has expanded into South Africa and India.  The Program is working with UNICEF as South Africa builds toward the World Cup.  The Program is instituting life skills curricula and spreading its message of empowering communities so they can decrease substance abuse, teen pregnancy, violence towards women and HIV/AIDS transmission..  Click here for the South African CBIM Futbol Playbook.


Trenton, N.J. - February 5, 2009 - Melinda Vickerman, the Jersey Mom, uses the Michael Phelps bong-incident to show that we can use an athlete's bad moments to teach kids life lessons.  See Redefining The Role Model by Melinda Vickerman, The Jersey Journal (The Jersey Mom Column), February 5, 2009.  Collins was quoted in this article.  Click here for Collins on Role Models.

Upswing in Rise of Coach/Player Inappropriate Relationships Is Clear.  Do Coaches Need Psycho-Social Training?  Chris Stankovich, an Ohio Psychologist says, "Let's Start Now."  See Psychologist: Coaches Lack Ample Training by Jim Halley and Jeff Zillgit, USA Today, August 22, 2008.  Also, see Counselor Lobbies For Coaches To Get More Training by Aaron Blankenship, Upper Arlington (Ohio) This Week, October 1, 2008 (detailing Stankovich's on-going efforts).  Is Stankovich correct?  Well, in the last month or so we've seen an Idaho volunteer volleyball counselor accused of having sex with a student, a lacrosse coach convicted of assault for "goosing" one of his players, an AAU coach indicted on 13 counts of sex with an underage member of his girls' basketball team, and an Indiana PE teacher (granted she isn't a coach) enjoying a nude sauna while on a field trip with underage students


Sportsmanship Education In Schools: Click Here for Massacusetts Rep. Patricia Haddad's Proposal to Introduce Sportsmanship and Character Education In Schools.  Also, the Arizona Sports Tax Credit Bill Provides Tax Credits For Donations To School Based Character Education Programs.  Click Here To See The Arizona Statute.


University of Idaho Professor Sharon Stoll's landmark studies have shown that athletes score worse on tests of moral reasoning than the general population.  This Section provides links to organizations that are dedicated to moral reasoning, and ethics instruction in athletes.


Character Combine Character Counts Sports  Institute for International Sport   Sports Ethics Institute   STAR Sportsmanship program  University of Idaho Center For Ethics    Winning With Character


You can find out more about these organizations, as well as organizations for coaches, parents, and administrators in the Section of this page entitled  Links to Organizations That Promote Sportsmanship and Values.     




2006 - The Alabama High School Athletic Association implements the STAR Sportsmanship program.  Click here for AHSAA's 11/21/06 posting, STAR program Helps Reduce Ejections.  Alabama had 350 ejections in football in 2005 and only 205 in 2006 after implementing the STAR program and taking other sportsmanship actions.


2006 -Alabama has taken strong sportsmanship steps in the last few years.  In 2006, Alabama passed its new coaches and conduct player rule, fining schools where coaches and players are ejected.  The more ejections a school has the steeper the fine gets: 1st ejection - $300, 2d ejection - one game suspension plus $500 fine, and third ejection - suspension for year plust $750 fine.  Click here for more.



2007 - Manitoba Soccer League Says, "If You Curse, You're Gone!"  See Manitoba Soccer To Enforce Foul-Mouth Policy, Slam Sports, August 1, 2007.



Oakland, CA - February 4, 2010 - Oakland Takes Proactive Approach When Faced With Threat of Spectator Violence.   Proactive measures can enhance not only good sportsmanship, but also spectator safety.  See OAL Basketball Games Between Oakland High and McClymonds Postponed Because of Concerns About Potential Violence by Jimmy Durkin, Oakland Tribune, February 4, 2010.



How do you know if your school’s sportsmanship program is working?  Well, you really don’t unless you do like Colorado and have schools submit a sportsmanship assessment.  This simple idea is a darned good one.  Click here for the Colorado Sportsmanship Self Assessment Form.



50 Point Rule In Football - 2006.  Under this rule, a coach of a high school football team gets a one game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct if his team wins by more than 50 points.  Click here for opinions on this rule from: Arizona Republic, May 31, 2006 by Ben Stapley; Hartford Courant, May 27, 2006 by Jeff Jacobs; Lower Hudson Journal News, May 25, 2006; New Jersey Star Ledger, Jersey Coaches Not Buying into Connecticut's New 50 Point Suspension Rule, May 25, 2006 by Mike Helfgot.  Click here for more on the 50 point rule.



The Florida Today on-line newspaper established a link for people to expose poor spectator conduct in youth sports in Jan, 2010.  Click here for details of how the media and your sports community can work together to fight poor sportsmanship in youth sports.  Note: the laws of unintended consequences held true as the first posting on this page was not about poor sportsmanship, but, instead, was about the lack of paper towels in the bathroom at a youth basketball game.  We also can get a good sense of the relative lack of importance of the issue of character and good sportsmanship in youth sports.  By March, 2010, there were only two postings.  Poor sportsmanship: it may not matter until it affects you.  Or could it be that Florida Today makes it really, really hard to find the link? 



OIA Muzzles Swearing By Players and Coaches, Honolulu Star Bulletin, August 7, 1996.



Calvin Davis, the Chicago Public League Athletic Commissioner, was confronted with a wave of violence in 2009.  He didn't sit idly by.  Davis cancelled night games, barred visiting fans, and in rivalry games with a history of problems he barred all fans.  See Visiting Fans Barred From High School Games by Bob Sakamoto and Carlos Sadovi, Chicago Breaking, January 23, 2009.  For a reaction to the ban, see High School Sports and Violence In Chicago by Teganx7, Jan. 23, 2009 on the blog.



The Indiana High School Athletic Association stands tall for sportsmanship with its annual Red Gold IHSAA Sportsmanship Award.  Click here for details on the 2010 winner. 



Maryland Sportsmanship Handbook Amended To Bar Racial Slurs.  See Race Dispute Prompts Update To Md. High School Football Conduct Code by David Dishneau, Associated Press Wire in Baltimore Sun, September 25, 2009.



Click Here For The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's Broad Array of Sportsmanship Committees, Policies, Resources, Tools and Initiatives.


Click Here for the MIAA's Spectator Expectations



Michigan – March, 2014 – The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s creative Battle of The Fans program has schools competing to be the most sportsmanlike.  See ‘Battle of The Fans’ Changing Culture In Michigan, reported by Geoff Kimberly, NFHS High School Today, March, 2014 page 20.



Michigan Kids Want The Right Things!  Click Here For MHSAA's Student Advisory Council's Belief Statement About School Sports.  December 12, 2007.  For related story, see Who's The Bos by Jane Bos, The Grand Rapids Press, December 12, 2007.


Click Here For MHSAA's Sportsmanship Kit, Complete With PA Announcements From Chauncey Billups of the Detroit Pistons.



Mississippi increases its focus on sportsmanship: 15 Counties to adopt STAR Sportsmanship Program in 2007.  Click here for press release.


New Jersey

New Jersey Bans Trash Talking In High School Sports  June 20, 2013 CBS 4 New York, N.Y.  The juicy headline slightly misrepresents the case.  What New Jersey has banned is harassing statements related to race, ethnicity, disability, religion, and sexual orientation.  The New Jersey policy is very similar to a Maryland policy enacted in 2009 which bars racial slurs.


North Carolina

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association's Ejection Policy Requires Ejected Players and Coaches To Take The On-Line STAR Sportsmanship Program Before Returning To Action.  See Ejected Players Must Take Sportsmanship Course by Tim Stevens, Raleigh News & Observer, December 3, 2008. 


Cumberland County Schools' Use New Fine Policy As Sportsmanship Incentive.

High school students who fight or enter field of play during a fight to face monetary fines of up to $1,000.  See Cumberland High School Athletes Face New Rules by Gilbert Baez, ABC 11 - WTVD North Carolina, August 10, 2007.


North Carolina's High School Athletic Association, Coaches Association, and Athletic Directors Association Encourage Sportsmanship By Selecting An Exemplary School - criteria includes having no ejections, condition of facilities, and the general atmosphere at athletic events.  See Exemplary School To Be Picked, Raleigh News and Observer, September 6, 2006 by Tim Stevens.



Nova Scotia, CA

The Capital Inter-District Soccer League's Field Marshall program requires all youth soccer teams to appoint a field marshal for each game.  The field marshal monitors parent behavior.  Why the need for this program?  Well, the parents were so out of control that they were driving away the referees.  The problem is so bad that the League's website on the field marshal program doesn't start off by describing the program, but instead starts off with a three paragraph message about how the parents and fans' behavior makes it hard to retain officials and has necessitated the program.  This league is not the first league to realize that the poor sportsmanship of parents, coaches and other spectators is killing the very youth games that these people purport to care about.  Click here to see the field marshal program.




Athlete-Fan Fight Rule - Under this rule, if an athlete leaves the playing area and has a verbal or physical altercation with a spectator, the athlete is suspended for the rest of the school year.  Additionally, the athlete's school is placed on probation until it has conducted an investigation and reported the cause of the incident to the Ohio State Athletic Association, and what steps the school will take to ensure that the incident does not repeat.



2006 - The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association implemented the STAR Sportsmanship program in conjunction with the State of Pennsylvania.  Click here for the Governor's press release announcing program implementation.


2006 - Philadelphia School District - Employs 450 full-time and 250 part-time officers, carrying a security budget of $35 million.  Donald Albertson, author of  Catch A Rising Star: The Adult Game of Youth Sports, and Bruce Svare, author of Crisis on Our Playing Fields: What Everyone Should Know About Our Out of Control Sports Culture and What We Can Do to Change It, advocate the Philadelphia approach, saying schools need to: Be a good example; Focus on security; and Respond quickly and severely to those who break the rules.  See Fighting To Win: School Basketball Takes It To Another Level, Rob Parent, Jeff McLane, and Rick O'Brien, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 21, 2006.


South Carolina

2010 - Central, South Carolina school officials take proactive steps, playing the Seneca HS vs. Daniel HS basketball doubleheader in a closed gym, open only to school administrators and the media.  See No Fans Allowed At South Carolina Prep Games Over Safety Concerns, Associated Press Wire in USA Today, January 28, 2010.



Maryville Board of Ed Bans Fans From Carrying The Confederate Flag: The Maryville Board of Ed. didn't want to violate the First Amendment so they couched this as a safety issue - The Maryville Board of Ed banned sharp pointed objects, including the flag.  Is it unsportsmanlike for fans to fly the Confederate Flag?  Well, it does carry negative racial symbolism, which would seem inappropriate and unsportsmanlike at an athletic contest.  Click on the following links on Confederate Flag Banning:  National School Boards Association Article on Flag Banning    Confederate Flag Advocates Chime In     Click here for regional news coverage  



2011 - Click here for the Utah High School Activities Association’s outstanding Raise The Bar sportsmanship program.  The program features an excellent “We Will” Sportsmanship Video.


In 2007, the Utah High School Activities Association placed the entire sports of boys' soccer on probation - a warning that more harsh penalties could come if players, coaches, and fans don't comport themselves better.  See Boys' Soccer Teams On Probation,, June 20, 2007; Penalty Kick by Michael Popke, Athletic Business, October 2007; Soccer Teams Get Probation by Amy Donaldson, Deseret Morning News, June 19, 2007.  For original publication click here; and Sportsmanship, Not Steroids, Called Nation's Top High School Issue by Jake Trotter,, July 13, 2007.  The UHSA has taken quite a stand here.  They monitored an increase in player ejections during the soccer season, observed spectator and player misconduct at their championship game, and even had a referee attacked in their championship game.



Chesapeake Schools Put Good Sports Into Sports by Cindy Clayton, Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, August 30, 2006.  The 6 schools in a South Hampton Roads, VA. league enact a nine point sportsmanship program, including sportsmanship evaluation by administrators, student pledges, and parent education.



Washington's Bremerton High School Cleans Up Student Language With Its Dare Not To Swear Campaign.  See Dare Not To Swear Campaign Returns To Bremerton High, Pacific Northwest Local News, April 25, 2008; and Bremerton Students Dare Not To Swear by Aaron Hommell, High School Today (published by National Federation of High Schools), February, 2010, page 26.


West Virginia

MSAC Gets Tough On Bad Sports, By Rick Ryan, Charleston Gazette August 17, 2005.


Mountain State Athletic Conference's Sportsmanship Policy, May 18, 2005 (a comprehensive policy covering hand shaking, trash talking, fighting, abusing game implements and throwing objects, and placing team penalties on schools that have multiple unsportsmanlike incidents in a single season - the policy also places enforcement burdens on officials with possible sanctions for non-enforcement).



Wisconsin Moves To Ban Bare-Chested Fans.  See Prep Talk: Stock In Chest Paint Could Plunge If This Rule Gains by Rob Hernandez, Wisconsin State Journal, June 5, 2008; Associated Press Story by Robert Imrie, published in Green Bay as Update: WIAA Wants You To Keep Shirt On At Prep Games, June 5, 2008 and in San Francisco Chronicle, June 6, 2008 page C6 as Wisconsin Might Not Bare It, and Miller: Banning Bare or Painted Chest A Bad Idea, Waussau Daily Herald, June 6, 2008.



Wyoming is ready to roll out new rules on using social medial to criticize officials ... and it's about time.  It's hard enough to enforce sportsmanship rules barring public criticism of officials, and modern day social media makes it a lot tougher.  The Wyoming High School Activities Association decided that at the very least a policy about social media should be in place.  As we get ready for the 2012-13 school sports season, Wyoming has barred the use of social media to publicly criticize officials and opposing teams.  Will that stop everybody?  No.  However, the rule sets a standard, and makes it clear what the expectations are.  The rule also gives the WHSAA the ability to step in and take action as everybody is now on notice that misconduct on social media is not permitted in Wyoming.  See WHSAA Strengthens Social Media Policy by Jeremiah Johnke, Wyoming Tribune Eagle, May 14, 2012.



Click here for information on Wyoming's very comprehensive Join The Ride sportsmanship program.  This program is run under the auspices of a statewide student advisory council.





Stockton, CA - March 30, 2013 - Brookside Christian Baseball Parents Run Coach Out of Job.  Gregg Marsh, Brookside Christian's highly successful baseball coach, found that success was not enough.  A group of parents allegedly wanted to run the show, and tried to by intervening in practices, and confronting umpires, players and the coaching staff.  Eventually Marsh banned parents from practices.  However, he'd already lost the parent/coach battle.  Marsh resigned mid-year: another victim of modern day sports parents.  See Coach Resigns Amid Parental Pressure by Rob Highfill, Stockton Record, March 30, 2013.


Albuquerqe, NM - April, 2012 - Unsportsmanlike Sports Parent Sues After Principal Bans Him.  Can he win?  Probably not, but ya never know.  See How To Weed Out Trouble Making High School Sports Fans by Michael Popke, Athletic Business Magazine, April 2012 (on-line version) (print version is titled, "Adult Education", and is on page 71 of the April, 2012 version of Athletic Business).


East Rochester, NY - October 27, 2010 - East Rochester Deputy Mayor Charged With Reckless Endangerment Of A Child For Conduct At A Soccer Game In A League For 5-Year Olds.  We've seen parents lose it at athletic contests.  However, this one is particularly ugly.  Andrew Serrano, the Deputy Mayor, was accused of picking his five-year old son up and throwing him into a chair, causing the chair to flip over, and then throwing water onto his son's face.  Serrano allegedly concedes throwing water on the boy, but denies throwing him into the chair.  The other odd thing about this is that Serrano allegedly told a Sheriff's Department deputy that he had a "heated argument" during the game with his son.  Now, I don't know about you, but 5-year olds tend to be incapable of having "heated arguments" with their parents.  Generally, if a parent gets heated, a 5-year old simply lacks the resources to stand up and counter the parent's argument.  Most strange.  To read the whole story, see Deputy Mayor Andrew Serrano To Resign From East Rochester Village Board by Alan Morrel, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, October 27, 2010.


Kenosha, WI - October 14, 2010 - Coaches & Parents Involved In Post-Game Brawl At 5th Grade Football Game: Coaches From Both Teams Dismissed by Myra Sanchick, WITI-TV, Fox6 Wisconsin, October 14, 2010.  There are a number of points worth noting here.  First, this incident began in the post-game handshake line where members of the opposing coaching staffs had a verbal exchange.  Second, parents and spectators are no longer content to sit in the stands; they just have to come out, and when they do things invariably escalate.  Third, there's always a camera; this incident is on film.  There is one difference between this matter and a number of other matters.  The administrators fired the coaches.  A lot of administrators tacitly bless misconduct by not cracking down on offenders. 


Toronto, CA - June 28, 2010 - Sports Parents Gone Mad!  Parents Sue a Canadian Hockey League When Their Kids Are Cut From A Team: Are You Kidding?  See Parents Sue GTHL After Sons Cut By Team by Lois Kalchman, Toronto Star, June 28, 2010. 


June 27, 2010 - How Do Bad Things Happen?  WFAS New York's Tony Fiorino, host of WFAS New York's Let Them Play show, describes how youth parents can very easily have incidents.  Coach Tony was watching his 9 year old daughter's soccer game when trouble broke out.  Hear Coach Tony describe the tension amongst the parents, and the loony dad who ran on the field, and click here for a show description and a link to the show or click here to jump directly to the show.  Ask yourself if the loony dad should have run on the field, if Coach Tony should have spoken to the officials, if other fans should have mocked the loony dad, and lots of other things that could trigger an incident.


April, 2010 - We're Number One: In Poor Sportsmanship That Is!  A Reuters/Ipsos survey found that US parents are the worst behaved at youth sports games.  See U.S., India Parents Seen As Worst Behaved At Kids' Sports - Survey, Reuters, April 2010.


November 9, 2009 - Given the chance, these parents would give their kids Tommy John surgery ... even though the kids aren't hurt.  Somehow, some parents have gotten the strange notion into their heads that having surgery enhances performance.  It doesn't.  The reason that players often come back strong from Tommy John surgery is because they're not pitching, and they're engaging in a massive workout and rehab training program.  It's not the surgery; it's the workouts that the kids need.  See Parents Want Kids To Have Tommy John Surgery For Stronger Arms, AOLNews, November 9, 2009; and to get more info on Tommy John surgery and the rehab see Once A Desperate Move, Tommy John Surgery Is Now Routine Tool by Will Carroll, Sports, March 9, 2011.


St. Paul, MN - April 2009 - Pressuring Their Kids To Win - And Harming Them In The Process.  See When The Kids Are Raised To Win by Bob Shaw, St. Paul Pioneer Press (reprinted in The Alamo Revolution).


Wyoming, Ohio - June 9, 2008 - Wyoming, Ex-Coach Settle by Tom Groechen, Cincinnati Enquirer.  Pressure from a parent led Wyoming High School to fire Deb Gentile, a very successful girls' basketball coach.  She sued the school district, won, and the school district is now liable for $398,831.04 (don't ask me why the figure is so precise- I have no idea).  Interestingly enough, Gentile won an age-discrimination suit but she's only 53 years old.  It is extremely unlikely that the jury really thought she was fired for age.  This reads like a case where a jury decided that the school was just wrong and found a way to make the school suffer.  Sometimes sports parents can get a school into a world of trouble.


Detroit, MI - Feb. 16, 2008 - Detroit Renaissance Parents Go Too Far In Trying To Get Coach Fired In Playing Time Dispute.  See There's a Truce at Renaissance by Terry Foster, The Detroit News, February 19, 2008.  For an excellent discussion of how playing time issues should be handled see Coach vs. Parents, Terry Foster's Blog, February 19, 2008.  To see the general perception of pushy parents in these types of matters, see Players' Revolt is so Revolting by Mick McCabe, The Detroit Free Press, February 22, 2008.


Madison, WI - Jan. 22, 2008 - Wisconsin Sheriff Goes Too Far To Try To Help Son's Team - Gets Fired For Using His Sheriff Position To Try To Get Opposing Player Suspended.  See Wis. Sheriff's Lt. Fired For Leaking Investigation of Football Team That Faced His Son's Team, Stevens Point Journal; See Details Behind Haney Firing Revealed by Matthew DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal, Jan. 16, 2008.


Fall, 2007 - Sports Parents Take Note: You're Embarrassing Your Child: University of Minnesota Ph.D. candidate Jens Omli's study of adult behavior at sports contests finds that kids don't want their parents yelling negative comments, and even positive comments can be embarrassing.  Basically, kids want parents to shut up, cheer for good plays, and then shut up again.  See A Sporting Chance by J. Trout Lowen, Connect Magazine (a publication of the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development), Fall 2007 (reporting on Omli's research).  Even the best sports parents can unintentionally embarrass their child.  Recently, a high school basketball player whose parent is not particularly loud was asked whether the parent heard in the gym was her parent.  She replied, "Unfortunately, yes."  See High School State Championships: Irish Wins a Title, Rogers Wins Hearts by Gwen Knapp, San Francisco Chronicle, March 16, 2008 page D1.


Parents: The Sportsmanship X Factor by Michael Sudhalter and Roger Phillips, Stockton Record -, August 11, 2007.


Parents vs. Coach: Battle Goes Wild by C.W. Nevius, San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 2006 page A-1 (parents to coach: play my kid or I'll make your life a living hell).


Spinola Resigns As Matadors Coach by Robert Jordan, Contra Costa Times, September 29, 2006.  Parent complaints force successful basketball coach to resign at Miramonte High School in California.  Just 3 years earlier, parent complaints over playing time forced out Spinola's predecessor, Tom Blackwood.  Blackwood had coached for 39 years and won 653 games.  So what's the deal here?  Well, this is a wealthy community with involved, demanding parents who spend lots of money and want to see their kids play.  To read about Blackwood's ouster, see Can Parents Be Too Involved?  Pressure Driving Out High School Coaches in Wealthy Lamorinda by Mark Fainaru-Wada, Mitch Stephens, San Francisco Chronicle, July 13, 2003 page B-1.


Parents Physically Attack Coaches, Too - As Stakes Rise, More Parents Are Directing Rage at Coaches by Bill Pennington, New York Times, June 28, 2005


Going For the Pros: Being A Good Sports Parent by Jane Weaver, MSNBC Health Editor, MSNBC On-Line April 14, 2004.


Parents "sideline rage" Hurts Youth Sport, CBC Sports (Toronto), June 2, 2001.


Out of Control by William Nack and Lester Munson, Sports Illustrated, July 24, 2000 page 86 (are today's parents out of control - read this article).


1998 -  The dirty little secret to the modern trend of parental over-involvement in sports is that the parents' desire to have young kids compete can ultimately stunt a young child's athletic development.  Children under the age of 13 need to spend far more time engaged in unfetterred play, free of adult interference, combined with supervised (or coached) skill based work.  Excessive competition is what parents want, but it gets in the way of the child's ability to create and take risks because creating and taking risks can lead to a loss if the risk doesn't work out.  Also, excessive competition means that lesser players don't get developed.  Overly structured, parent controlled competition will not develop great basketball players or soccer players.  Some element of free - schoolyard, pick-up, whatever you want to call it - play must be part of the child's development, and the child must have some freedom to create.  There are exceptions in sports where repetitive skills can be developed at a very young age or where an athlete must peak prior to puberty (gymnastics is an example of this), but in most other cases, the competition that parents enjoy must be matched - and even exceeded - by both unsupervised and supervised training.  Now, it's not just me saying this.  The accepted international theory of youth athletic development is Istvan Balyi's Long-Term Athlete Development Model.  Click here to read it.  


Sports Parenting Books

Parenting Young Athletes the Ripken Way (Gotham Press 2006).  Click here for review.


Click here for an excerpt from Rick Wolff's The Sports Parenting Edge: The Winning Edge: The Winning Game Plan for Every Athlete-from T-Ball to College Recruiting, Pond Lake Productions 2003.


Click here for an excerpt from George Selleck's Raising A Good Sport In an In-Your-Face World, McGraw-Hill 2002.


It's Just a Game: Youth Sports and Self Esteem (A Guide for Parents) by Dr. Darrell J. Burnett (Author's Choice Press 2001).  Click here for review Click here for article in Ventura County Star: Burnett Encourages Kids To Play Sports, Focus On Positive Skills, Ventura County Star, May 2, 2006 by Rich Romine.


Just Let The Kids Play: How To Stop Other Adults From Ruining Your Child's Fun and Success In Youth Sports by Bob Bigelow, Tom Moroney and Linda Hall (HCI Press 2001).


Raising Winners: A Parent's Guide To Helping Kids Succeed On and Off The Playing Field by Dr. Shari Young Kuchenbecker (Three Rivers Press 2000).  Dr. Kuchenbecker's book is an excellent resource for a sports parent.  Click here for review.   


Sports Parenting Videos

Click Here For What Kids Wish Their Parents Knew About Sportsmanship - From The MHSAA website (note - this video has been licensed to high school state associations throughout the country; contact your state's sports governing body and you can probably get a copy to use at your school).



Philadelphia, MI - January 26, 2011 - Social Media Abuse Mar Recruiting.  C.J. Johnson, a highly touted football recruit, was driven off Facebook by rumors about his mom.  See Inside Recruiting Column: Please, Facebook: Help Shameless Recruitniks Help Themselves by Andy Staples, Sports, January 26, 2011.



Nashville, TN - January 28, 2010 - Basketball Player Expelled For Threatening To Kill His Coach on Facebook.  Taylor Cumnings, a Nashville basketball player butted heads with his coach.  So he went home and threatened to kill the coach.  That’s right, Taylor got on Facebook and wrote, “I’ma kill em all.”  Taylor’s school expelled him.  Now Taylor said he was just venting and didn’t really mean it.  Taylor’s case raises all kinds of social and legal issues.  To read some excellent coverage of the ramifications, see Tennessee Teen Expelled For Facebook Posting by Jaime Sarrio, The Nashville Tennessean, reprinted in USA Today, January 28, 2010; and Expulsion Feeds Debate On Online Rights by Jaime Sarrio and Emily Bazar, USA Today, February 2, 2010 page 3A.

 Wolfe v. Fayetteville High School - Are You Controlling Your Cyberbullies?  The Wolfe case involves Cyberbullying and Title IX in a different context than we normally see it in athletics, but it has clear athletic ramifications.  Billy Wolfe was allegedly cyberbullied by multiple students on Facebook, abused by his classmates, and even beaten up.  His crime?  His classmates think he's gay; he says he isn't.  In either case, school officials don't appear to have done a lot about the on-going harassment so Billy sued under Title IX - yeah, and you thought Title IX was just for female athletes - after all, Title IX specifically says that schools receiving federal funds can't engage in gender discrimination.  Billy's saying that gays - or perceived gays - get less protection than straights.  Will Billy win?  Maybe, but probably not.  Title IX probably doesn't cover this.  However, Billy has shown that Title IX may be a new way to attack cyberbullying when the cyberbullies launch gender based acts like calling a girl the "B" word on-line or even launching into some of the modern-day "meangirl" attacks that are so prevalent.  For more on Billy Wolfe, see Billy Wolfe Sues Classmates, School over Bullying Claims by Scott F. Davis, Northwest Arkansas Times, December 28, 2008, and Wolfe's Attorney Files Answer to School's Response: Federal Lawsuit Headed For Trial In September by Bob Caudle, Northwest Arkansas Morning News, January 8, 2009.  If you're confused on how Title IX interacts with gender orientation, don't worry.  So are the courts.  Click here for legal guidance.  At present, Title IX doesn't appear to cover gender orientation but it does cover sexual harassment if you treat the genders differently when they're harassed.  That means a guy who is perceived as gay - like Billy - can win his Title IX claim if a straight or gay girl would have been protected by the school.  It also means that your athletes could use Title IX as a new tool to fight cyberbullying.        

September - 2008 - Media Blogs Create Concerns About High-Tech Bullying by Bill Boyle, NFHS High School Today, September, 2008, page 18.


April 8, 2008 - Cheerleader Targeted For Cyber-Beating - 8 Kids Film Beating, Plan To Post It To MySpace and You Tube.  See Mulberry Cheerleader Recovering From Beating by Jeremy Maready, Polk County Ledger (Florida), April 8, 2008.  For Video of beating and court appearances, plus reactions see, Beaten Teen's Mom Says Video Was Hard To Watch, by Amy L. Edwards, Susan Jacobsen, and Walter Pacheco, Orlando Sentinel, April 9, 2008.  For more, see's coverage with links to numerous articles and video.  This is another example of a sports person suffering from a real-world problem.  Beatings recorded on video is an increasingly commonplace problem.  A Baltimore schoolteacher was beaten during the very same week as the cheerleader's beating.  The beating wasn't delivered for the express purpose of videotaping it, but once under way the student-witness's primary motive was recording the beating - not stopping it.  See Teacher Attack Recorded by Cell Phone, WMAR ABC 2 News, April 10, 2008.


Jan. 22, 2008 - Now You Can Track Your Athletes' On-Line Misconduct!  But should you?  See Extra Eyes For Athletics Staff, Inside Higher, Jan. 22, 2008.  YouDiligence (a product of mvp sports media training) can run keyword searches on your athletes' Facebook and MySpace pages.  You can catch threats, taunting, etc...  Should you use it?  Well, just remember that you can't be negligent if you don't have a duty to do something and schools and youth programs have no obligation to track their athletes on-line.  You can, however, be negligent if you assume a duty and then botch it up.  So, if you do this and you blow it you could create a legal problem that didn't exist before.  On the other hand ... you may feel a moral obligation to track your athletes.


Sept., 2007 - On-Line Taunting Takes Us Into a Faceless New World by Nate Dougherty, Athletic Management Magazine.  This problem does not start in the athletic world, but like many bad trends it has spilled over.  To see the non-athletic impact, see Online Schoolyard Can Be A Pretty Scary Place, Burlington Union, April 3, 2007; and Web Sites Add Fuel To Fights by Anica Butler, Baltimore Sun, November 22, 2006.


Boston, MA Aug. 31, 2006 - Teams Take Aim At Online Taunting by Lisa Kocian, Boston Globe, August 31, 2006.




Maryland, September 2009 - Maryland Sportsmanship Handbook Amended To Bar Racial Slurs.  See Race Dispute Prompts Update To Md. High School Football Conduct Code by David Dishneau, Associated Press Wire in Baltimore Sun, September 25, 2009.


Chattanooga, TN. January 19, 2007 - Ooltewah High Coach Suspended After Alleged Racial Remark, The (the coach later admits to using the "N" word to describe the opposing team and is fired).  For more, see Ooltewah Basketball Team Captain Supports Coach Baker, by Abena Williams, WDEF News 12 January 21, 2007.  The team captain says if a black coach used the "N" word, "Nobody would be going to the school board."  Is the captain right?  This seems like the topic for a broader discussion.  One may wish to refer to Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy's book, Nigger: The Strange Career of A Troublesome Word Click here for more information on this book.  Click here for WRCB TV's coverage on the coach's termination.


Chicago, IL. July 17, 2006 - One-Eyed Ref Sues Big Ten Over Termination (CBS 2 website - story from Chicago Sun-Times Newsgroup Wire). For More, See UM Coach Carr Responds To Blind Ref Lawsuit (Sports Law Blog Aug. 2, 2006).


Pennsylvania, May 11, 2006 - Former player Jennifer Harris sues Penn State Coach Rene Portland sued for sexual discrimination.  See Harris Stands Tall In Painful Battle, USA Today, May 11, 2006 page 3C by Jill Lieber.  Click Here for NCLR coverage.  Read the federal complaint in Harris v. Portland Click here to see Portland fighting back!  Penn State Coach Accuses Group of Trying To Exploit Bias Case, USA Today, May 18, 2006.  For more see: Portland Vigorously Defends Her Integrity and Penn State Program, USA Today, May 11, 2006 page3C by Jill Lieber; Others Make Allegations, USA Today, May 11, 2006 page3C by Jill Lieber; and Penn State Coach In The Line of Fire, October 25, 2005 Press Release from NCLR.  (A strange note to this case - Coach Portland allegedly harrased Harris for being gay, but Harris has always stated that she is a straight woman who simply doesn't carry herself in a feminine manner).  The case is over! See Ex-Penn State player, Portland Settle Discrimination Complaint,, February. 5, 2007.  See also, Penn State Settlement Leaves Unsettling Feeling by Mechelle Voepel, Special to, February 6, 2007.  Finally, Portland does us all a favor: she resigns.  See Portland Resigns As Women's Coach at Penn State by Dick Patrick, USA Today, March 22, 2007


Chicago, Illinois - April, 2006 - Suburban Black School Districts Accuse White Schools of Racism in Illinois High School Re-leaguing Controversy.  See Federal Lawsuit Cites 'White Flight', April 11, 2006.  Listen Here: Racial Concerns Over Suburban Athletic Realignment, WBEQ Feb. 28, 2005, reported by Jay Fields.  To hear NPR Report Click Here - High School Sports and Race In Chicago, NPR March 28, 2005, reported by Jay Fields. 


El Salvador - 1969 - Poor sportsmanship is bad, but remember these are only games.  It's not like it's war or something, right?  Well, not necessarily so.  Poor sportsmanship has helped trigger a war so ugly that it became known as the "Football War."  The 1969 El Salvador/Honduras FIFA qualifying soccer series was marked by heavy fan violence and rioting at the contest sites.  The soccer matches were closely followed by a brief border war.  The war may have been brief, but the disruption in trade between the two countries, combined with over 300,000 refugees and a disruption in the Central American Common Market set the stage for the El Salvadoran Civil War, and contributed to over two decades of economic disruption.  Was the poor sportsmanship the cause of this war or just something that happened at the same time as the tensions that led to the war?  Well, we'll never know.  But the poor sportsmanship sure didn't help, and it ultimately led this war to be forever known as "The Football War."  Click here for more details.





California - March, 2012 - California Legislature Strikes Back Against Unruly Fans California’s Assembly Bill 2464 Lets Pro Teams Ban Unruly Fans.  See California Bill Would Ban Violent Fans From Games by Demian Bulwa, San Francisco Chronicle, March 14, 2012, page C1.



California Bill Sidelines Convicted Athletes.  Click here for the bill's text.  Click here for the Assembly's bill analysisClick here for Governor Schwarzenegger's Bill Signing Video.  Click here for USA Today Story: Calif. Bill Targets Felons In Athletics, USA Today, September 6, 2006 Page 3C by Jack Carey.   Click here for LA Times's story on Bill's impact: Two-Year Schools Run Into Troubles, Los Angeles Times August 24, 2006.  For the opposing viewpoint, see Community Colleges: Director Calls Foul on Bill Proposal, Sacramento Bee, September 1, 2006 Page C2 by Quwan Spears.


Legislative Protection For Sports Officials - Some states have passed legislation specifically criminalizing batteries committed against sports officials.  Click here for National Association of Sports Officials' Special Report on Legislative Protection For Sports Officials Click here for link to article about batteries against sports officials and how laws can help.



The following organizations and studies provide excellent information on hazing: and The National Study of Student Hazing


Sayreville, N.J. – October 7, 2014 - Hazing Scandal Shuts Down Elite New Jersey High School Football Program and Leads To Criminal Charges.  See Sayreville H.S. Cancels Football Season Over Allegations of Pervasive Hazing by Danielle Elliot, yahoo sports blog, October 7, 2014; see also Seven Sayreville Football Players Facing Charges In Hazing Scandal, USA Today High School Sports Blog, October 10, 2014; and see Sayreville Students React To Hazing Controversy Following Player Arrests by Vernal Coleman,, October 14, 2014.  Sayreville Probe Widens With Football and Baseball Coaches Suspended.  See Sayreville Baseball Coaches Among Those Suspended In District Hazing Probe by Vernal Coleman,, October 24, 2014.  The Sayreville case not only involves hazing; it has a racial component, too.  See New Divide Threatens Sayreville As All Seven Students Arrested Are Minorities by Wayne Coffey, New York Daily News, October 21, 2014.


La Puente, CA - September 24, 2012 - Allegations of Hazing, Sexual Assault in the La Puente High School Soccer Program: One Victim Say Coach Knew.  This hazing incident involves a pattern of sexual hazing that goes back at least two years according to one of the victim's attorney.  The attorney claims that La Puente soccer players were taken into a back room where they were physically and sexually assaulted.  The La Puente parents are up in arms over the alleged hazing, and have been picketing the school.  See High School Soccer Players Accused of Hazing, Sexual Assault reported by Stan Wilson, CNN, September 26, 2012; La Puente Soccer Hazing Allegations 'Deeply Disturbing', Sup't Says, L.A. Now blog in Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2012.


Andover, MA - November 24, 2011 - Ugly "Sex Game" Hazing Incident Hits Andover.  See Alleged Andover Hazing Gets Camp Kicked Off Campus by Jill Harmacinski, North Andover Eagle-Tribune, November 29, 2011; News of Hazing "Sex Game" Surfaces In Massachusetts Town by Steve Coogan, USA Today, November 30, 2011; and Andover Students In Hazing Face Discipline by Peter Schworm, Boston Globe, December 2, 2011.  This rather unsavory basketball hazing incident allegedly involved younger players having to eat an Oreo cookie covered in a bodily fluid, a practice dubbed the "wet biscuit" or the "ookie cookie."


Monroe, MI - January 10, 2011 - Wrestling Hazing Scandal Hits Monroe County, Michigan High School: Upperclassmen urinate on, sexually assault underclassmen.  See Allegations of Hazing At A Monroe County High School Have Parents Upset and School Officials Investigating, WXYZ, Monroe, MI, January 10, 2011;  Jefferson Wrestlers Under Scrutiny For Alleged Hazing, Monroe County News, January 10, 2011.  The negative side of the wrestling culture has been exposed this year.  It has not been pretty.  We've seen the Fresno "butt-drag" case where a wrestler jammed his finger up an underclassman's anus during a practice match.  We've seen this act, involving urination.  I hate to play armchair psychologist, but it is very possible that a violent sport that has people crossing the normal physical boundaries of contact may lead to forms of hazing that do the same.  It is fashionable for us to say that we abhor hazing.  However, we don't hear people complaining about initiation rituals such as having the freshman carry the ball bag.   We all laugh at the "thank you sir, may I have another" line in Animal House.   We tend to view some hazing as good clean fun, and even a needed dose of humility.  We only read negative news articles about hazing when the hazer crosses some line and either enters the realm of sexual abuse or puts someone at danger.  In short, the message that we send is not that hazing is bad, but that some hazers go too far.  This leads the hazer to confront the dilemma of having to find hazing techniques that are creative enough to force the hazee to feel the full brunt of being initiated while not crossing a line.  It is inevitable that the line will be crossed.  The problem for anti-hazing people is the difficulty in quantifying how much hazing occurs and how often that hazing crosses a line.  It's the same problem that I have on the bad-acts listings on this site.  I can't quantify the bad acts, but I can say that if I wanted to, I could find a bad sports act every day.  Hazing's no different. can find a hazing act every day.  You can visit their site to see an almost daily listing of a hazing act.  Just click right here, and get ready to be overwhelmed with hazing gone astray.  


Fresno, CA - December 7, 2010 - Sexual Harassment, Hazing, or Just Poor Technique?  Wrestling "Butt Drag" Case Is A Controversial New Low.  Preston Hill, a California wrestler who was entering his senior year, jammed his finger up a freshman wrestler's anus during a practice.  Hill claims he was doing the "butt drag", a technique of grabbing an opponent's butt cheeks for leverage during a match, and simply slipped.  His opponent disagrees - basically arguing that the odds are against a butt drag technique slipping into anal penetration; in effect, the opponent claims that this is hazing.  The law claims its sexual battery.   See Fresno Court Case Alarms Wrestling Community by Bryant-Jon Anteola, Fresno Bee, December 7, 2010.  Hill's court case begins in January, 2011. His school didn't wait for the courts; they expelled him.  See  Expulsion Recommended For Clovis Wrestler In "Butt Drag" Case, , reported by Tommy Tran, ABC Channel 30, Fresno, CA. and Clovis Unified Expels Wrestler in "Butt Drag" Case by Pablo Lopez, The Fresno Bee, January 19, 2011, and Clovis Unified Expels Wrestler in "Butt Drag" Case by Pablo Lopez, The Fresno Bee, January 19, 2011. 


Wrestling "Butt Drag" Charges Dismissed!  After A Number of Low Moments, Hill Goes From The Bottom to The Top.  Preston Hill, the infamous wrestling "butt drag" boy, no longer faces criminal charges.  Hill had been accused of ramming his fingers up his opponent's anus in an attempt to bully him.  Hill claimed that he simply misapplied a wrestling move called the "butt drag" in which one grabs one's opponent's butt cheeks for leverage.  Hill has been expelled from school, and was facing charges.  His alleged victim agreed not to pursue charges after Hill took a LA Sheriff's Department called "Stop Hate and Respect Everyone" (SHARE).  The Share course is an anti-hatred and intolerance course.  For details, see Apology Not Required As "Butt-Drag Charge Dropped by Pablo Lopez, Fresno Bee, January 27, 2011.  For more on the SHARE program, click here.  



Needham, MA - October 29, 2010 - Massachusetts High School Soccer Hazing Suspensions Makes Town Question Whether Zero Tolerance Is Too Harsh:  Zero tolerance for hazing sounds good until someone gets penalized.  A group of Needham High School varsity soccer players blindfolded some JV players, led them around on a leash, and hit them in the face with whipped cream pies.  Another group of JV players were forced to sing songs.  Needham High suspended more than 10 varsity soccer players, and lost a playoff game. 


Let's be honest, despite all the talk about zero tolerance for hazing there probably aren't too many people who would get worked up about forcing the JV players to sing a song.  Singing a song doesn't put anybody in a position for a greater harm to occur.  However, the blindfolding and leading people around on a leash is probably just the sort of thing that anti-hazing rules are supposed to stop.  Granted, the culmination of a whipped cream pie in the face falls at the benign end of hazing, but the blindfolding and use of a leash does put somebody in a position for a greater harm to occur.  It would be hard to defend that if a parent complained - even though the outcome of a whipped cream pie wasn't a severe harm. 


Of course, the reason for debate is that the Needham soccer team lost a big playoff game after their players were suspended for hazing.  Zero tolerance is one thing to the fans of mighty Needham.  Losing a game is quite a different thing.  Indeed, the Needham parents wouldn't tolerate a disciplinary message directed at their own kids.  So, in the time-honored tradition of American parents who can't brook discipline directed at their kids, the Needham parents ran to court for an injunction.  They did not get what they sought, but they got what they deserved.  They lost: both in court and on the soccer field.  Whatever one thinks of the school's discipline, it was certainly legally justified.  In a previous generation, it would have been a valuable life lesson, and the parent's would have taught their kids that there are rules and standards that trump a mere soccer game.  But, this is 2010 and the parents aren't interested in reinforcing life lessons so they taught their kids a modern day lesson: if you don't like it, run to court.  This time the courts got it right and sent the good parents of Needham packing.  The courts got it right.


See Ten Girls Suspended In Needham Hazing Incident by David Abel, Boston Globe, November 11, 2010; Needham High Suspends Girls Accused of Hazing: Judge Rejects Plea To Play In Big Game by Kathleen Burge and Sarah Thomas, Boston Globe, November 10, 2010


Indianapolis, IN - October 9, 2010 - Hazing leads Indianapolis School for The Deaf to cancel football game, and fire coaches.  See "Roughhousing" Is At Heart Of Indiana Deaf Incident by Nat Newell, Indianapolis Star, October 16, 2010.


Tulsa, OK - September 22, 2010 - Football Players Suspended for Hazing: Players Paddled Underclassmen As Part of Initiation.  See E-mails Confirm Owasso Football Hazing Involved Paddling by Matt Baker, Tulsa World, September 22, 2010.


Carmel, Indiana – February 2010 – Hazing or Sex Crime? Carmel, Indiana Basketball Case Treads The Thin Line.  See Carmel Basketball Players Disciplined For Hazing,, February 18, 2010; Carmel Police: Sexual Assault Took Place In Locker Room, Indy, February 26, 2010; and It Was A Sexual Assault, Parents Claim,, May 19, 2010.


Buses Are A Frequent Hazing Site.  See  Coaches Could be Fired For Allowing Inappropriate Behavior by Nelson Garcia and Kevin Torres, Aurora, Co. Channel 9 News, October 14, 2009.


For a rather detailed report on hazing, see the Palo Alto Viking report from December 2007: See Hazing: A Look Inside The Dark Side of Paly Sports, by Peter Johnson, The Viking (a Palo Alto High School Student Publication) page 16 (also published in the Paly Voice)This article garnered national attention and generated these Palo Alto High School follow ups: Drawing The Line: When Fun Stops and Hazing Begins by Viking Staff in the Paly Voice, December 3, 2007; Principal McEvoy Releases Administration Response To Hazing by Paly Voice Web Staff and Connie Yang, December 10, 2007; Campus Reacts To Hazing Story by Courtney Hancock, Paly Voice, December 10, 2007; and Hazing Special (podcast) by Emily Merrit and Courtney Hancock, Paly Voice, December 20, 2007.  Click here for podcast only.


Running up The Score

Click here for the Running Up The Scores Page





No Spectators At All - Empty Gym - This means exactly what it says.  The game is played in front of no fans.  This usually happens when the fans are out of control.  Usually, the community reacts poorly when this occurs and many schools will create an exemption for family members or people accompanied by family members.  An example of the exemption for immediate family members occurred in Florida where community pressure led a school to change from an empty gym to a ban on all but immediate family members.  See  Palatka Softens Ban On Basketball Spectators by Justin Barney, St. Augustine Record, January 16, 2008.  Also, see No Arrests Expected in Football Game Fight, NBC 4, Frederick, MD, September 9, 2008.  Spectator brawls at a high school contest between Frederick and Tuscarora high schools leads to game being played in an empty stadium. 


The Chaperone Policy: Under this plan, no student could attend a contest unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.  This plan clearly intends to limit student disciplinary problems.  It is not so much a plan designed to teach or promote sportsmanship as it is is a plan to quash the problems created by unruly, poorly supervised youth.  The plan was not well received when enacted at Rich South High School in Rich Township, Illinois as it was perceived as punishing innocent parties and restricting student access to extracurricular activities.  Click here for Rich South High School's decision to back away from this plan.


Silent Sidelines:  Many national youth programs use silent sidelines days.  On a silent sidelines day, spectators can come to the game, and they can applaud, but they can't make comments to players, coaches or referees.  The Connecticut Junior Soccer Association uses this concept.  They have silent sidelines weekends.  Andrea Duffy, the CJSA President, has been quoted as saying, "The object of the weekends are to provide each player with one weekend free from all the distractions caused by parents or coaches screaming or yelling directions at them."



Spectator Conduct Codes: An excellent idea: Tell the parents and spectators what you expect from them in advance.  You can do this in a pre-season parents' meeting, and you can supplement it by handing out conduct cards at the game sites.  Click here for a sample spectator conduct code from the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation


Spectator Education: Click here for information on Sioux Falls's spectator education effortsCrossing The Line: Administrators Struggle To Keep Cheers From Turning Personal,  Sioux Falls Argus, Feb. 22, 2004 by Brenda Wade Schmidt.


Spectator Education: Click here for the Wake County, North Carolina Public School System's Sportsmanship Education Brochure



Bloomington, MN - March 14, 2015 - Players Scuffle at Bloomington Youth Basketball Game; Adults Get Loud, Ornery by Paul Walsh, Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 15, 2015.  This matter could have been much worse.  For some reason the adults engaged in a verbal dispute but never came to blows.  This incident began with a post-game fight between players, but it is not clear whether the post-game fight began in the handshake line.


Chicago, IL - March 12, 2015 - Prep Team Suspended From Playoffs After Brawl Breaks Out At Game, reported by Erik Runge and Courtney Cousman, WGN Radio, Chicago; and Suspended Team Denied Reinstatement For Playoffs, CLTV, March 13, 2015.  This post-game handshake line had severe ramifications for the two teams involved as their league issued a three game suspension to both teams, causing the two teams to miss the playoffs.


Rockford, IL - March 6, 2014 - For the second straight year, the Illinois High School Association's (IHSA) State Basketball playoffs have been marred by an ugly incident.  Last year, saw an ugly incident with racial overtones. See Illinois State Championship Game Marred by Allegations of Racism by Ben Rohrbach, Yahoo Sports Prep Rally, March 13, 2013.  This year, saw an ugly post-game handshake incident.  See Brawl Breaks out After High School Basketball Game, CBS TV Chicago, March 6, 2014; and click here for video   


Kentucky - October 2013 -

Kentucky High School Commissioner Falls Into Post-Game Handshake Mess - And Takes Steps To Clarify His Most Rational Position.  It all started in October, when national headlines said  Kentucky High Schools Told No More Postgame Handshakes fox news, Oct. 9, 2013.  Kentucky reported more than two dozen post-game incidents over the past two years.  They never actually barred handshakes.  Rather, Julian Tackett, Kentucky’s athletic commissioner,  tried to send a fairly rational message: namely, schools should either manage and observe post-game handshakes or they shouldn’t hold them.  Well, Commissioner Tackett found that discussions of post-game handshakes strike an emotional chord.  Commissioner Tackett’s message that schools do it properly or don’t do it gained him national headlines as the man who tried to ban handshakes.  It seems like there’s a myth that youth and high school sports are pure, and people who even dare suggest that there’s a problem in some handshake lines are narrow minded bureaucrats who want to attack something that’s pure.  So Tackett has spent a lot of time trying to ensure that people know that when he says, “If you have 75 players shaking hands, you’d better watch what’s going on”, he’s not trying to attack the purity of sports; he’s just saying that we have an obligation to manage our athletes when the game is over.  The latest message comes in the May 2014 edition of NFHS’s High School Today.  Click here for Handshake Remains Key Part of High School Sports by Mike Dyer.


New York, NY - January 15, 2013 - New York Flu Epidemic Leads to Post-Game Handshake Restrictions.  Normally, post-game handshake restrictions come in the aftermath of poor post-game sportsmanship.  Generally, the restrictions lead local - and sometimes national - media to run a series of stories criticizing the local administrator who imposed the restrictions, and calling for the traditional post-game come together moment.  New York may have the first post-game handshake restriction that we've heard of that is purely illness related, and has led a league to suggest that players "touch elbows" instead of shaking hands.  Yes, illness leads to strange bedfellows.  See Flu Is Hand! Youth Soccer Club KOs High Fives by Beth Defalco, New York Post, January 15, 2013.


Ann Arbor, MI - October 12, 2012 - Player Hit By Crutch In Post-game Brawl.  A post-game coaches' discussion about running up the score morphed into a midfield brawl in which a player was hit in the face with a crutch.  See Michigan High School Football Player Hit By Crutch During Post-Game Midfield Brawl, Associated Press Wire in Greenfield (Indiana) Daily Reporter, October 13, 2012, and see Detroit News, October 14, 2012.  For local coverage, see Mother of Huron Player Injured In High School Football Brawl: 'It's Just Terrible' by Matt Durr,, October 13, 2012; and A Huge Fight Between Two High School Football Teams In Ann Arbor Sends A Player To The Hospital reported by Julie Banovic, WXYZ TV, Ann Arbor, October 13, 2012.


Vancouver, Canada - June 23, 2012 - Youth Hockey Coach Trips Opposing Players In Post-Game Handshake Line.  This is another case of a man who simply should not be coaching kids ... or adults.  At the end of a youth hockey game involving 13 -year old kids, one of the coaches was caught on film casually shaking hands while extending his leg and tripping some of the opposing players.  One of the players suffered a broken wrist.  The tripping sure looks intentional on the youtube clip posted by one of the spectators.  However, a court will get to decide as the coach has been arrested and charges are pending.  See Canadian Youth Hockey Coach Arrested For Tripping Player In Post-Game Handshake Line by Cameron Smith, Yahoo Sports Prep Rally, June 27, 2012; and Hockey Coach Investigated Over Accusations He Tripped Teenage Player, The Globe and Mail, June 26, 2012.


Baytown, TX - November 26, 2011 - Brawl Mars Texas Football Playoff Game.  An ugly fourth quarter bench-clearing brawl was topped off by an even uglier post-game handshake brawl.  Police officers on hand had to resort to pepper spray to break up the post-game fights.  One big question: why did they even bother to let these teams have a post-game handshake line after they'd had their fourth quarter fight?  Sometimes, you just need to clear the field even if it means dispensing with post-game handshakes.  Safety - and common sense - should always come before formal gestures - and here the post-game handshake was a formal gesture.  See Melee Erupts Between LM, Ozen Players After Game by Jordan Godwin, The Galveston Daily News, November 27, 2011.


Dumfries, VA - Chaos In Football Post-Game Handshake.  Virginia High School football brawl breaks out after Virginia's Hylton High beats rival Potomac High School.  This brawl was bad enough to require police and school officials to break it up.  See Brawl Breaks Out During Post-Game Handshake of Hylton-Potomac Game, by Robert Daski,, October 29, 2011.  Of course, what would a good post-game handshake be without some local waxing philosophical about it?  This incident has its muse, and that muse is David Fawcett, a local scribe for the Virginia News and Messenger.  The message, of course, is that the post-game handshake is worth doing even if sometimes things go wrong.  See An Important Lesson From Last Week's Potomac-Hylton Post-Game Handshake,, November 3, 2011.  This Virginia high school incident is timely as it comes in the wake of the post-game dustup between NFL coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz.  For those who like some history, a bit more thought, a better counterargument, and even a survey, the renowned ethicist and sportsmanship expert Michael Josephson may be more in order than Fawcett.  See Is The Post-Game Handshake Worth Keeping? Cast Your Vote, Michael Josephson Sportsmanship blog,, November 1, 2011.


Greenfield, Ohio – September 29, 2011 – Every couple of years we see someone who thinks it’s funny to make a mockery of the post-game handshake by doing something offensive.  We’ve seen people spit on their hands and then shake all of their unsuspecting opponents’ hands.  We’ve seen people slap the opponents’ hands really hard, and we’ve even seen one person who gave a hard hit to some of her opponents.  A Washington (Ohio) football player probably thought that it was witty to place a sharp object in his receiver’s glove before shaking his opponents’ hands.  Of course he was wrong – he was a classless, immature fool as we all know.  However, youth will occasionally be classless, immature, and foolish.  We can teach our way out of these things even though they’re not pleasant.  What we don’t expect to have to deal with – and aren’t all too thrilled to have to tolerate - is a trip to the hospital.  But, that’s exactly what happened here as the student who used the sharp object punctured the skin of 27 of his opponents, requiring all 27 to have to go to the hospital for tetanus shots.  See Police: Ohio Player Pricked Opponents In Handshake, Associated Press Article in Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 6, 2011; and 27 H.S. Football Players Pricked In Post-Game Handshake, Fox-28, Columbus, Ohio, October 7, 2011.


April 4, 2011 – Mike Austin, a blogger on the philosophy and sports blog, recently gave his thoughts on post-game handshakes, and opened an interesting dialog.  Mike asks whether one could be morally justified in not engaging in a post-game handshake if one disapproved of how one’s opponents comported themselves.  Moral indignity strikes me as a pretty lousy justification for not engaging in a post-game handshake.  After all, if one decided that their moral disapproval justified not engaging in a post-game handshake, there would be a whole lot of games without a post-game handshake.  In short, the post-game handshake isn't a gesture of approval; it's a gesture of respect.  Anyway, read Mike's blog for yourself at Respect For Opponents And The Post-Game Handshake, Philosophy and Sports Blog, April 4, 2011.     


Middletown, CT - January 5, 2011 - Post-Game Handshake Breaks Down At Connecticut High School Game.  See Fight at High School Basketball Game by Jim Bransfield, Middletown Press, January 5, 2011.


Kenosha, WI - October 14, 2010 - Coaches & Parents Involved In Post-Game Brawl At 5th Grade Football Game: Coaches From Both Teams Dismissed by Myra Sanchick, WITI-TV, Fox6 Wisconsin, October 14, 2010.  There are a number of points worth noting here.  First, this incident began in the post-game handshake line where members of the opposing coaching staffs had a verbal exchange.  Second, parents and spectators are no longer content to sit in the stands; they just have to come out, and when they do things invariably escalate.  Third, there's always a camera; this incident is on film.  There is one difference between this matter and a number of other matters.  The administrators fired the coaches.  A lot of administrators tacitly bless misconduct by not cracking down on offenders. 


Samson, AL - September 17, 2010 - Alabama HS Player Proves That You Can Be Too Friendly In The Post-Game Handshake Line.  See Samson, Alabama Prep Player Accused of Groping Cheerleaders, Associated Press Wire on Alabama Channel 13 website, September 28, 2010; and High Schooler Turns To Groping In Post Game Handshake Line by Slanch, September 28, 2010,


Baton Rouge, LA - September 17, 2010 - Outstanding Louisiana Rivalry Game Ends With Post-Game Handshake Fight.  See McKinley Rallies For 34-30 Victory by Duane Lewis, Baton Rouge Advocate, September 18, 2010.  Ultimately, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association suspended 24 players for their role in the post-game brawl.  See USA Today's Sports Update, September 30, 2010. Once again, though, we see athletes unable to handle their emotions in the post-game handshake.


Slidell, LA - August 5, 2010 - The New Orleans Times-Picayune Won A Legal Battle to Get Test Results on Jason Chighizola.  The results confirmed that Chighizola tested positive for steroids in 2008 when he beat a rival coach to a bloody pulp following a baseball game in a 8-year-old's league.  This one has it all: steroids, a coach losing it in a post-game handshake line, a grown man going nuts in a league for little children, and, yes, the two 8-year-old teams were the Yankees and the Red Sox.  If it wasn't a true story, you wouldn't believe it.  Chighizola was ultimately convicted of battery, and we can only hope that he never coaches anywhere again.  He's a danger to us all - and to himself.  See Slidell Youth Baseball Coach Who Beat Rival Coach Tested Positive For Steroids by Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, Times-Picayune, August 5, 2010.


Ann Arbor, MI - July 3, 2010 - Post-Game Handshake Fight in Youth Baseball Game Sends Teens To Hospital.  See Fight Breaks Out At Youth Baseball Game At University of Michigan Field by Tina Reed,, July 5, 2010.


Toms River, N.J. - March 14, 2010 - NJ Girls Basketball: Incident In The Handshake Line mars Group 1 Final by Chris Orlando,, March 14, 2010 (ejected player comes out swinging during post-game handshake).  An interesting sidenote: one of the officials was quoted as saying the ejected player should have been taken to the locker room.  No she shouldn't.  For supervision reasons, ejected high school players are ejected to the bench.  The same social forces that lead to the increase in poor sportsmanship make it unsafe to leave a high schooler unsupervised following an ejection so rulesmakers send ejected high schoolers to the bench. 


Charleston, SC - Feb. 27, 2010 - Post-game handshake line turns into brawl in this South Carolina high school basketball game.  See Fight Breaks Out At Upstate High School Basketball Game, Channel 5 News, Charleston, SC, Feb. 25, 2010; Basketbrawl: High School Puts Both Schools On Warning, WSPA Channel 12 (Greenville, SC), February 26, 2010.  In the aftermath of this incident some South Carolina coaches are questioning whether they should continue to have post-game handshakes.  These coaches know that post-game handshake bans inevitably touch off media controversies so one idea that's been floated is to have a pre-game handshake.  See Coaches Consider Ban on Post-Game Handshake by Scott Keepfer, Greenville News (on-line edition), February 26, 2010.


Hartford, CT - February 12, 2010 - Post-Game Handshake Fight Touches Off Spectator Riot.  Multiple Parents Arrested.  See Four Parents Arrested After Fight at HS Hoops Game, Hartford Courant On-Line, Feb. 12, 2010; and Names Released of Parents Involved In High School Basketball Game Brawl by Grace E. Merritt, The Hartford Courant, February 13, 2010.


Hawaii Survives "Minor" Post-Game Handshake Incident At State Football Championships.  See Postgame Handshakes Can Be Valuable Learning Tool, Honolulu Advertiser Prep Talk Blog, November 10, 2009.


Westfield, N.J. - June 25, 2009 - Post-Game Headbutt Mars New Jersey Little League Game.  See Little League Rage: N.J. Game Ends With Headbutt - Substitute Coach Allegedly Attacks Other Coach After Teams Shake Hands; Parents Furious, CBS 11, New Jersey, June 30, 2009; See Violence Flares At Little League Game, Police Called, New, June 26, 2009..


Albany, N.Y.  June 16, 2009 - Post-Game Handshake Incident Leads to Legal Charges: But was the wrong person charged?  Corey Hall was allegedly punched in the handshake line.  He reacted to the punch by pushing the alleged perpetrator and kicking a helmet in frustration.  The alleged perpetrator was expelled from his youth baseball league. After the alleged perpetrator was punished, his father, a police officer, filed charges against Corey on the grounds that Corey damaged property by kicking the helmet and committed a battery by pushing the kid who punched him.  The lethal combination of a post-game handshake line and a parent who can't accept his son's punishment will tie up the judicial system for a little while.  See Score Deputy's Move An Error For Justice by Mark MgGuire, Albany Times-Union, June 23, 2009.


Florence, SC - August 28, 2008 - This Post-Game Incident Happened Right After The Game Before The Teams Could Reach The Handshake Line.  Bench Clearing Brawl, Multiple Arrests, Helmet Swinging Mar Season Opener for South Carolina's Defending Football State Champs.  See Brawl Mars Lake City's Upset Win Over Wilson by Kevin Smetana, South Carolina Now, August 29, 2008.  The end of the game is an inherently dangerous time as the threat of in-game penalties no longer exists to deter angry players, coaches and spectators.  Here, the attack occurred right after the final whistle before the teams could get into a post-game line.  The normal remedies people take to prevent post-game handshake violence would not have worked here as these players simply waited for the final whistle and then went at it. 


Parma, N.Y., June 30, 2008 - Post-Game Handshake Attack Kills Adult Softball Player.  See Hilton Man Dies After Assault At Parma Softball Game by Claudia Vargas, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.  For more on this story see Hilton Ballplayer Dies After Punch To Head In Parma Softball Game by John Boccacino and Claudia Vargas, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, July 1, 2008 and Upstate Man Dies After Softball Game Altercation, WNBC TV New York, N.Y, July 1, 2008, and Police: NY Man Dies After Assault At Softball Game by Ben Dobbin, Associated Press Wire Service in San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, 2008, and  Athlete Accused of Fatally Punching man Spent Time in Prison Washington Post, July 2, 2008 page E02.  version.  This game was marred by trash talk.  Sadly that trash talk spilled over into a post-game handshake line attack.  Worse, Sean Sanders, the man accused of delivering the fatal blow, punched the victim, Daniel Andrews, in the back of the head.  A lot of bad elements combined here.  First, trash talk is something that athletic administrators constantly work to quash.  Often athletes say it's harmless fun.  It's not.  Trash talk often leads to retaliation, and sometimes that retaliation is physical.  Second, post-game handshakes may be an excellent and traditional display of sportsmanship, but they also offer angry people a free cheap shot at opponents.  There are a lot of post-game handshake line incidents.  In heated games, post-game handshake lines need to be monitored closely.  There's no harm in suspending a post-game handshake where conditions warrant - although if one looks at the post-game handshake line incidents on the sportsmanship page of this site one will see that any sports administrator who tries to eliminate post-game handshakes - even temporarily - will come under an immediate media assault (remember, the local press isn't responsible for actually running the games and they have no idea of some of the problems that may occur in someone's leagues - in other words, they're uninformed).   Third, blows to the back of the head are cowardly and they're also extremely dangerous.


Long Island, N.Y. - March 31, 2008 - Post-game handshake problems in New York where a Hofstra University assistant football coach playing in a touch football Rec League punched an opponent in a post-game handshake line after a game.  See Hofstra Asst. Football Coach Arrested In Touch- Football Assault by Bill Mason, New York Newsday. 


Layton, UT - March 15, 2008 - Post-Game Handshake Problems Mar Utah Baseball Game.  See High School Baseball: Fight Mars Pirates' Comeback Over Lancers by Michael Black, Deseret Morning News.


Pittsburgh, PA - March 8, 2008 - PIAA Basketball Playoffs: Fight Erupts Following Contest by Mike White, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 9, 2008.  This ugly post-game fight led to call to end post-game handshakes.  See Playoff Storylines by Bill Gaffey,


November 2, 2007 - Razor Blade Attack After High School Football Game,, Rockville, MD, Nov. 3, 2007.  Also See The Cruelest Cut, by Sarah Barr, Montgomery County Sentinel, Nov. 2, 2007, and Handshake Incident Stuns Colonels by Alan Goldenbach, Washington Post, November 7, 2007 page E10.



Tampa, FL - October 4, 2007 - High School Football Game Ends, Brawl Begins by Beth Gaddis, Tampa Bay  Six players engage in post-game handshake line brawl during the Alonso and Jefferson High School Junior Varsity football game.


Sioux City, Iowa, January 17, 2007 - Wrestler's Parents Press Charges Against East High Coach, KTIV News Channel 4.  Students, parents, coaches involved in post-wrestling match handshake line dust up.  Another bad post-game handshake - this one involved a hard hand slap, a retaliatory shove, a coach allegedly pushing a student in the face, and a parent dashing out of the stands because of the post-game handshake dust-up.


Hudson Valley, N.Y., November 2, 2006 - Cops Arrest Girl After Post-Game Attack by Justin Rodriguez, Times Herald-Record (girls' teeth knocked out in unprovoked post-game handshake attack after girls' soccer match - Jasmine Crespi, the puncher, was arrested), Nov. 2, 2006.  For follow up, see Girl Heads To Trial For Felony Charges In Post-Soccer Game Punch by Justin Rodriguez and Oliver Mackson, Times Herald-Record, March 31, 2007.  The charges were later reduced to a misdemeanor.  See Judge: No Felony for Soccer Punch, The Cornwall Local, August 31, 2007.  For a coach's view, see Coach's Playbook: Violence In Sport by Gus Alfieri, December 14, 2007, Long Island Ultimate Athlete Magazine (


Hampton Roads, Va. October 22, 2006 - Oscar Smith Still Reigns Over Deep Creek by Jami Frankenberry, Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, October 22, 2006 (at the conclusion of this game, Oscar Smith High did not go to mid-field to shake hands.  Oscar Smith's coach stated he wished to avoid any potential problems resulting from vandalism to Oscar Smith High's new $10,000 victory bell).  Hampton area schools enact a sportsmanship education program in 2006 to prevent further incidents of this nature.  See Chesapeake Schools Put Good Sports Into Sports by Cindy Clayton, Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, August 30, 2006.  Click here for a local sportswriter's reaction to this incident


Terre Haute, IN. August 26, 2006 - Post-Game Confrontation Mars West Vigo-Paris Contest, Terre Haute Tribune Star, August 26, 2006 by Todd Golden (coaches involved in post-game fight).


July 21, 2006 - Post-Game Handshake Lines Should Be Banned If Fights Keep Breaking Out In Them: True/False, Rise Magazine On-Line: The Truth Section, July 21, 2006.  Click here for the Sports Illustrated On-Line Reprint.


New York, N.Y., May 21, 2006 - 43 Year Old Softball Coach Allegedly Taunts 11 Year Old From Other Team and Then Gives Her a Hard Slap in Post-game Handshake Line. (New York Newsday, May 21, 2006 by Susana Enriquez).


Cincinnati, Ohio, May 5, 2006 - Post-Game Handshake Turns Into Fight Between Teams and Parents In Fifth Grade Girls Basketball Game.  (Channel 5 News Cincinnati).


Port St. Lucie, Fl., April 5, 2006 - Top Florida High School Star Beaten and Injured In Post-Game Fracas.  (South Florida Sun - Sentinel, April 5 & 6, by Shandel Richardson) (note: Richardson is one of the few media people who does not think that administrators are out of line when they temporarily bar post-game handshakes or institute pregame handshakes).


Roanoke, VA. 2005 - Too Many Fights Lead 5 Principals In Eastern Virginia To Ban Post-Game Handshakes.  See Media Reaction Here - Postgame Handshake: A Tradition To Keep, Roanoke Times Editorial November 14, 2005.  (Roanoke did produce a postgame handshake feel-good story in 2006: See McElwees Vow To Settle Matters On Court, By Robert Anderson, Roanoke Times, January 26, 2006, writing about the postgame handshake where a dad coached against his daughter's high school team).


Charleston, WV 2005 - MSAC Gets Tough On Bad Sports, By Rick Ryan, Charleston Gazette August 17, 2005.


Mountain State Athletic Conference's Sportsmanship Policy, May 18, 2005 (a comprehensive policy that covers post-game hand shaking; also covers trash talking, fighting, abusing game implements and throwing objects, and placing team penalties on schools that have multiple unsportsmanlike incidents in a single season).


Westchester, NY, January 5, 2005 - Shake It! Win or Lose, Athletes Shake On It by Srikanth Reddy, Westchester, Jan. 5, 2005.


Illinois, April 21, 2004 - Illinois High School Association Sportsmanship Advisory Committee Recommends Pre-Game Handshake - not to replace the post-game handshake ... of course.  It's just that, "emotions between competitors tend to run high after the game..."  Click here for more.


Honolulu, HA. 1997 - Pregame Handshakes Instituted in Hawaii After Huge Postgame Spectator Brawl - Columnist Objects: See Pat Bigold in The Honolulu Star Bulletin on September 30, 1997, Keep Games Safe With Better Security; and on September 223, 1997, Bring Back the Postgame Handshake.


California, 1994 - The Post-Game Handshake: and the 40 days that shook the Marmonte League (CA) by Terry Dobbins, Scholastic Coach, May, 1995; See also, Nice Guys Finish Last In Ban On Handshakes by Seth Mydans, New York Times, April 9, 1994.





Postponed Games: There are occasions where a school simply has to postpone a game due to threats of violence or concerns about violence.  This occurred in Ramapo, N.Y. in January, 2006.  Click here for details



Christian Leagues/Other Religious Leagues - These leagues stress religious values, and that leads them to sportsmanship (please note that they don't all succeed, though, as there are incidences of unsportsmanlike conduct in religious leagues).  For an example of religious values imbuing a league with sportsmanlike values see Prayer, Sportsmanship Rule Christian Game by Tim Davis, The Sedalia Democrat, January 28, 2007 (Sedalia, MO).


The National Capital Soccer League in Virginia is an age group league that requires signed conduct agreements, specifies conduct requirements, requires coaches and participants to be trained by the Positive Coaching Alliance, and provides a comprehensive disciplinary evaluation of any incident of poor sportsmanship no matter how small.  Click here for the National Capital Soccer League's Rules and Discipline page.


Sports Done Right is The University of Maine's comprehensive sportsmanship report that defines what a healthy sports community should look like.


The STAR Sportsmanship program is a part of Learning Through Sports, Inc.'s behavioral skills educational programs.  The STAR program uses innovative video game technology.  STAR also includes an excellent sportsmanship blog that rivals the bad acts section of this site.


 Click here for USA Softball's 4 steps on starting the sportsmanship conversation.





    The following organizations have made valuable contributions to improving our sports culture.  These organizations provide a significant amount of educational tools on sportsmanship matters.


The American Sport Education Program (ASEP)

   ASEP works in conjunction with the National Federation of State High School Associations to provide what is widely recognized as the nation's best coaching education program.  ASEP also provides training to sports parents, sports administrators, and sports officials.  


The American Sports Institute

    The American Sports Institute recognizes that there are lessons that we learn through sports, physical education, and recreation.  Those lessons transcend the mere playing of contests or engagement in athletic activity.  The American Sports Institute attempts to identify those lessons, distill them, refine them, and apply them to the educational system.  We often speak of teaching life skills to people involved in sports.  The American Sports Institute teaches sports skills that people can use in life.


Joyce Bassett's Albany Times Union Blog

    Ms. Bassett's blog tracks bad acts in youth sports - and does a pretty thorough job of it.


The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program

     The Aspen Institute's Sports and Society Program created Project Play in 2013 "to find ways to help all children in America become active through sports."  "Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game," is the product of their work. "It offers an ambitious plan to reimagine organized youth sports, prioritizing health and inclusion, while recognizing the benefits of unstructured play. A unifying document, it collects in one place the most promising opportunities for stakeholders — from sport leaders to mayors, parents to policymakers — to work together to create universal access to early, positive experiences. It’s a playbook to help get and keep all children in the game by age 12 — whatever the game, whatever the form."


Athletes For A Better World

    Fred Northup, a former tennis pro and author of Winning More Than The Game, founded this fine organization.  ABW works with athletes from all levels, but its greatest strength is its ability to work with young athletes and schools on the development of moral principles and the development of character through sports.  ABW is particularly strong at showing how ethical lessons learned through sports apply in other settings.


The Canadian Centre for Ethics In Sport

    The Centre tackles a broad array of the issues that confront us in sports today, provides comprehensive information, thorough analysis, and attempts to provide some measure of guidance that can help all parties involved in sports.


Character Combine

    Former Baltimore Colt Joe Ehrmann works with coaches, offering training, motivation, mentoring, and practical application in developing well-rounded players.  Joe focuses on academics, substance abuse, lifestyle choices, and counseling so coaches can work to make their students winners on and off the field.


Character Counts Sports

    Character Counts Sports is a broad based coalition devoted to the teaching and study of ethics in every aspect of life, including athletics.  Character Counts Sports is part of the Josephson Institute Of Ethics.  Character Counts Sports, and the Josephson Institute of Ethics are probably the leading ethical and character education institutes in the country.  Their Pursuing Victory With Honor program and the Arizona Sports Summit Accord have been adopted by hundreds of organizations, including the NCAA and the National Federation, and hundreds of high schools and colleges.


Citizenship Through Sports Alliance

    This coalition of twelve of the nation's largest amateur and professional sports governing bodies has a comprehensive program that focuses on sportsmanship and citizenship through participation in sports.  If you want sportsmanship information from the major sports organizations in the country, this is the place to go.


Coaching Boys Into Men: A Project of The Family Violence Prevention Fund

     The Coaching Boys Into Men Project uses sports coaches as a tool for teaching boys the socialization skills that will lead to a reduction of violence against women.  Click here for the 2007 Coaches' Playbook - an excellent example of what this program can do for boys in sports.


Get Psyched Sports

    Mitch Lyon's organization attempts to ensure sportsmanship by emphasizing the need to teach everybody involved in youth and amateur sports how to govern their emotions in the crucible of athletic competition.  Get Psyched Sports has a heavy focus on teaching psychological and emotional skills that correlate to good sportsmanship.  Get Psyched Sports also has a legislative agenda to enact multistate legislation requiring sports organizations to teach these skills as part of an ongoing athletic curriculum.


Heart of A Champion

    Heart of A Champion is a character education program that uses research based tools geared to reach today's "sight and sound" generation.  Click here for a sample educator's guide.


Institute for International Sport

    The Institute for International Sport sponsors the annual national sportsmanship day, and provides comprehensive information on sportsmanship and ethical matters in sports.  The Institute sponsors annual World and U.S. Scholar Athlete Games and provides well respected programs for parents through its Center For Sports Parenting


Institute for the Study Of Youth Sports

    This Michigan State University program studies and provides academic information on youth sports, and the issues confronting youth sports today.  The Institute has a vast array of information on sportsmanship and other matters, and provides teaching resources and publications on youth sports issues.


Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

    The Knight Commission studies issues designed to promote academic values and citizenship in college sports.


Let Them Play

    Tony Fiorino's weekly radio broadcast focuses on coaching and parenting.  Tony frequently covers sportsmanship issues.  He also heads the Center For Sports Parenting.


Mom's Team

    This organization does exactly what its name implies: they provide the information that a responsible parent would need about how to create a safe and sportsmanlike environment for children participating in youth sports.


National Alliance For Youth Sports

    NAYS provides complete programmatic advice, support, and advocacy for youth engaged in sports.  This includes programs and training for coaches, administrators, and parents engaged in youth sports.  NAYS has worked through a national panel of leaders to develop the widely followed National Standards For Youth Sports.  NAYS's founder, Fred Engh's, excellent book, Why Johnny Hates Sports examines a vast array of problems that lead a surprisingly large number of youth to abandon sports.  These problems include the sportsmanship problems and win at all cost climate that besets our youth sports culture.  Most important, Fred provides solutions that work, and are leading to a better sports climate.


National Association of Sports Officials

    NASO is the world's largest organization for sports officials.  They provide information, education, insurance, legal information, and a multitude of other professional services for sports officials.  They are the authority on sports officiating issues.  NASO covers sportsmanship extensively through Referee Magazine, its monthly publication on all things regarding officiating.  NASO also focuses on sportsmanship through its numerous other publications.  NASO has also been a leader in protecting officials by supporting the enactment of legislation criminalizing batteries committed upon sports officials.   


National Federation of State High School Associations

    The NFHS is the national governing body for high school sports.  The NFHS promulgates sports rules and regulations, and places a heavy emphasis on sportsmanship and citizenship both through sports and fine arts.  The NFHS also devotes a substantial amount of time and energy to officials' issues through its NFHS - Officials Association.


National Institute For Sports Reform

    NISR seeks no more than a total reform of our amateur sports culture.  NISR seeks to reform the culture that leads to the win at all costs attitude, and other negative factors that permeate the amateur sports culture, ultimately leading to a better climate - and a better sports climate.


Positive Coaching Alliance

    The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is run out of Stanford University.  PCA conducts workshops for coaches, parents, students, youth organizations, and virtually anybody involved in youth sports.  PCA has an incredibly prestigious national advisory board, operates in multiple cities throughout the country, and has trained approximately 70,000 coaches.  PCA focuses on the important life lessons that can be learned through sports, and has programs that show people at every level of sports how to achieve it.  These programs are backed up by extensive research, and are among the best in the country.  Founder and Executive Director Jim Thompson leads a large staff of trainers and workshop coordinators.  PCA also has a number of resources, including Thompson's two books, The Double Goal Coach and Positive Coaching: Building Character and Self-Esteem Through Sports, and Phil Jackson's video, Phil Jackson on Positive Coaching.  Also, see the PCA's Sure ID program - an important step in keeping your kid safe: The Positive Coaching Alliance Fights Predators, enlisting Sure ID to help make sure that youth coach is who he says he is.



Raising Winners

    Dr. Shari Young Kuchenbecker is the author of Raising Winners: A Parent's Guide To Helping Kids Succeed On and Off The Playing Field.  Dr. Kuchenbecker is a sports parent and a sports psychologist.  Her site and book provide significant guidance on coaching, parenting, childhood development, psychological issues, and our youth sports environment.

Can Good Sportsmanship Be Coached?  The good people at think so.  They may be right.  Their scenario questions are a valuable tool in teaching sportsmanship and generating a dialog. 


Safe Kids Worldwide.

    Safe Kids focuses more on sports safety than sportsmanship.  They raise important questions about making sports safer, and have a significant amount of safety data.  The Safe Kids Worldwide Organization says we can create a safer sports culture.  Click here for information on Safe Kids.



Safe Sport Zone

    Jay Hammes's Safe Sport Zone provides school safety training program and event management services.  If you want to know how to mitigate your liability at events, develop or refine your emergency plans, or access the latest tools to handle the difficult to manage spectator, the Safe Sport Zone is for you.  The Safe Sport Zone is recognized by numerous national groups, including the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.


Sports Ethics Institute

    This organization provides information on ethical developments in sports, and seeks to encourage the development of a sports culture that will emphasize sportsmanship and ethical principles.


Sports-Law Blog

    Harvard educated attorneys Michael McCann and Greg Skidmore's site focuses on legal issues in sports, but touches extensively on sportsmanship issues. 


The STAR Sportsmanship program is a part of Learning Through Sports, Inc.'s behavioral skills educational programs.  The STAR program uses innovative video game technology.  STAR also includes an excellent sportsmanship blog that rivals the bad acts section of this site.




Winning The Sportsmanship Battle, LOAN Newsnet, December 2001, page 2 (National Association Of Sports Officials Publications).


Avoid The Attack: Develop A Battery Plan For Your Association, LOAN Newsnet, February 2001 page 1 (National Association Of Sports Officials Publications).


Can We Put Sportsmanship Back In The Game?, LOAN Newsnet, October 2000 page 1 (National Association Of Sports Officials Publications).


OTHER AUTHORS' SPORTSMANSHIP ARTICLES  (Click Here For Special Reports On Sportsmanship Issues)


Click Here For Dr. Janet Sasson Edgette's 2014 Article on Sportsmanship: Humiliation Is a Horrible Motivational Tool.


January 2013 -

Malcolm Gladwell Touches On Key Sportsmanship and Character Issue In Discussing Manti Te'o.


San Francisco, CA - June 27, 2011 - Columnist Bob Frantz asks, In Youth Sports, When Does Competition Begin?, San Francisco Examiner, June 27, 2011.


June 22, 2011 - Forbes Magazine Sports Blogger Bob Cook makes a rather uncompelling argument that crazed youth sports parents are actually engaging in a rational economic response to the pressures inherent in youth sports.  Oh, Cook goes out of his way to say he's not justifying nutty youth sports parents.  Rather, he contends that once a parent concludes that sports is the way out, that conclusion logically leads to a host of unsavory behavior.  Sounds like Cook is trying to apply economics where it doesn't apply.  Anybody who works in youth sports can tell you that nutty parents go nutty even when they're so rich that their kid doesn't need a scholarship.  They go nuts in 3rd grade basketball games where no score is kept, and even if there was the kids are too small to score anyway.  They go nuts when they've made no investment in their kid's sports development and the kid is playing for one of the worst teams in town.  Sounds like Cook needs to get out and see some games, and put away the economic textbooks.  Just because you write for Forbes doesn't mean you have to try to apply economics to everything.  Cook's work is some of the worst intellectual work on sports I've seen in a long time, which is too bad because he's generally a pretty sharp guy.  Anyway, don't take my word for it.  See for yourself by reading, Irrational Parents Are A Rational Economic Response To Youth Sports: The Bob Cook Your Kid's Not Going Pro Blog, June 22, 2011,


May 11, 2011 - Freelance writer and youth sports parent Linda Flanagan comments on poor sportsmanship in youth sports in, Adults Behaving Badly, Huffington Post, Living Section, May 11, 2011.


Sacramento, CA - March 15, 2011.  Think Nobody’s Watching?  The Sacramento Bee is, and they’re seeing the best and worst of sportsmanship in California’s Basketball Playoffs.  See Hometown Report: Good Sports – and bad – On Full Display In High School Basketball Playoffs by Joe Davidson, Sacramento Bee, March 15, 2011.  Poor sportsmanship is bad, but remember these are only games.  It's not like it's war or something, right?  Well, not necessarily so.  Poor sportsmanship has helped trigger a war so ugly that it became known as the "Football War."  The 1969 El Salvador/Honduras FIFA qualifying soccer series was marked by heavy fan violence and rioting at the contest sites.  The soccer matches were closely followed by a brief border war.  The war may have been brief, but the disruption in trade between the two countries, combined with over 300,000 refugees and a disruption in the Central American Common Market set the stage for the El Salvadoran Civil War, and contributed to over two decades of economic disruption.  Was the poor sportsmanship the cause of this war or just something that happened at the same time as the tensions that led to the war?  Well, we'll never know.  But the poor sportsmanship sure didn't help, and it ultimately led this war to be forever known as "The Football War."  Click here for more details.


Sports does a tremendous amount of good.  However, it does have the capacity to do harm.  Newsweek shows diplomatic tension and even a war caused by poor sportsmanship.  See Fool’s Gold by Christopher Hitchens, Newsweek, February 15, 2010, page 46.


The Pressure to Cheat - Commentary by Michael Josephson, The CIF News, September 2009, page 1.


Follow this link for Rick Telander's "On Youth Sports" Column in the Positive Coaching Alliances, Spring 2008 Momentum Magazine - at page 2 - describing just how easy it is for a parent to lose it:    


Putting Civility and Sportsmanship Back In Game, If Not In The Stands by Ray Glier, New York Times, February 22, 2008 (examining college spectator conduct).


2-4-6-Hate by Tom Owens, Teaching Tolerance Magazine, Fall 2006, Page 23.  Tom Owns Examines How Our Schools Handle Offensive Cheers.


Click Here For The American Association of School Administrators' June 2006 magazine, featuring numerous articles exploring athletics and academics, eligibility, sportsmanship, and steroids in high school sports. (See The School Administrator, June 2006, Number 6, Vol. 63 published by the American Association of School Administrators).  You can also click on the following individual articles: Righting the Balance In The Athletics-Academics Equation by Kate Beem; Athletic Eligibility: Struggling To Raise The Bar by Paul Riede; Sports at Any Cost by Kimberly Reeves; Targeting Sportsmanship by Linda Chion Kenney; Steroids: To Test Or To Educate? by Scott LaFee


Can Good Sportsmanship Be Legislated by Dale Frost Stillman on The New Jersey State Bar Foundation's website.  Note: This website contains a wealth of information about sportsmanship efforts in New Jersey:


Child's Play No More: The Pressure On Kids and Coaches In Youth Leagues Has Reached a Level That Would Be Laughable If It Weren't So Destructive by C.W. Nevius, San Francisco Chronicle, December 10, 2000 page D-1.


Emphasizing Sportsmanship In Youth Sports by Lori Gano-Overway, Education World, 1999, reprinting article originally published in Spotlight on Youth Sports - a publication of the Institute For The Study Of Youth Sports.


Going For the Pros: Being A Good Sports Parent by Jane Weaver, MSNBC Health Editor, MSNBC On-Line April 14, 2004.


Good Sportsmanship Is Losing Out To Winning - Bill Walton's USA Today Editorial of Dec. 20, 2005


Self-Control And Sportsmanship: How Sports and Recreation Can Improve Society by Mitch Lyons, Recreation Management Magazine, September 2007.


Brevard County, FL. January 31, 2007 - It's Called Sportsmanship: Parents Must Set Example At School Athletic Events, by Mark Smith, Guest Columnist, Florida Today (Mr. Smith was kind enough to send me his guest column and share this important message).


New Rules for Soccer Parents: 1) No Yelling. 2) No Hitting Ref by Edward Wong, New York Times, May 6, 2001.


Out of Control by William Nack and Lester Munson, Sports Illustrated, July 24, 2000 page 86 (are today's parents out of control - read this article)..


November 18, 2005 - Parents - Are Your Kids Proud of You? by Mike McQueen, (good article on spectator conduct and spectator abuse of officials).


Parents, Coaches Who Need Time-Outs by Regan McMahon, San Francisco Chronicle, November 5, 2006 page E2.


Poor Sportsmanship: Other Factors Leads To Southern California Officials ShortageUnanswered Calls, Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2006 by Peter Yoon.


Click Here: Positive Coaching Alliance Lists Bottom 10 Acts of 2006


Click Here For the Autumn 2007 Issue of the Positive Coaching Alliance's Momentum Magazine, featuring Robert Lipsyte guest authoring the On Youth Sports Column.  Lipsyte examines parents, coaches, and today's ethical climate in youth sports.


Teaching Respect, by Dr. David Hoch, Athletic Management October/November 2006.  This article provides valuable advice on increasing sportsmanship from the Athletic Director of Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County, MD.


When Parents Take Their Child's Sports Participation Beyond Reason, Commentary: by Wayne Dominowski, Athletic Insight: The Online Journal of Sport Psychology, Volume 3, Issue 3, 2001.


When Winning Is The Only Thing, Can Violence Be Far Away? by the Canadian Centres For Teaching Peace.


Who's Killing Kids' Sports?, Parade Magazine, August 7, 2005 by David Oliver Relin


Winning Through Losing
Just because your team may not be victorious, doesn't mean your players are not winners.  Check out this article titled 0-19: Winning Through Losing from Coach's Quarterly Magazine about the educational values gained through losing.




What's Wrong With Youth Sports?  ESPN's Farrey Chimes In With His Brand New Book (it was released May 6, 2008), Game On: The All American Race To Make Champions of Our Children Click here for the early feedback.


Learning Culture Through Sports: Exploring the Role of Sports In Society, edited by Sandra Prettyman (Rowman & Littlefield Education Press 2006).


Click here for an excerpt from Donald W. Albertson's Catch A Rising Star: The Adult Game of Youth Sports, Turnkey Press 2006.


Click here for an excerpt from Bruce Svare's Crisis on Our Playing Fields: What Everyone Should Know About Our Out of Control Sports Culture and What We Can Do to Change It, Sports Reform Press 2004.


Click here for an excerpt from Rick Wolff's The Sports Parenting Edge: The Winning Edge: The Winning Game Plan for Every Athlete-from T-Ball to College Recruiting, Pond Lake Productions 2003.


Click here for an excerpt from George Selleck's Raising A Good Sport In an In-Your-Face World, McGraw-Hill 2002.



In Michigan, the officials are the Caretakers of the Games - MHSAA Officials.


Click Here for What Kids Wish Their Parents Knew About Sportsmanship.


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