NCHSAA Launches Sportsmanship Initiative

 CHAPEL HILL — The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has begun a special sportsmanship initiative with its member schools.

 The theme for the initiative is "Sportsmanship. It's Up to You." The campaign is designed to provide a renewed emphasis about the role sportsmanship plays in high school athletics.

 "Sportsmanship has always been one of the cornerstones of the 'wholesome athletic environment' the NCHSAA promotes," says Davis Whitfield, commissioner of the NCHSAA. "But we are concerned about an upward trend in ejections and the fact that this year we have had several teams exceed the limit of ejections for a season and thus have made themselves ineligible for postseason play."

 Each member school has been sent information about the campaign, with suggestions and potential resources which can be used. One such resource is a Sportsmanship Kit from the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS), of which the NCHSAA is a member.

 As part of the initiative, coaches are urged to develop an action plan of what do if there is an altercation on the field or court, reminding their players that leaving the bench to participate in an altercation can ultimately lead to disqualification from the playoffs. The roles of principals, athletic directors, student-athletes and parents are also being addressed.

 "Many of our schools do a excellent job in this area," says Whitfield. "However, sportsmanship is not a one-time thing, but something that should be stressed continually. We call on each of our member schools to renew their commitment to emphasizing positive behavior and sportsmanship in the weeks and months ahead."

 The NCHSAA already has a number of sportsmanship-related recognitions and programs in place, including honoring any schools who go through a complete academic year ejection free.