Sportsmanship From A Major Conference Perspective

The responsibility for managing and administering collegiate soccer games is shared between the match officials and the conference administration. As soccer referees, we are primarily responsible for the events immediately before, during and immediately after a match. We are required to file reports when unusual incidents occur during the time we have jurisdiction. Conference administration use the reports to make sure everyone adheres to the NCAA’s sportsmanship ideals. Conference administrators take this responsibility very seriously.

Recently, we received this email from a major, Division 1 conference in our area regarding sportsmanship.

Head Coaches,

I usually do not like to send blanket memorandums because the subjects of my concern usually don’t apply to everyone equally. However, at the same time there is a necessity to notify everyone. That said, over the past several weeks I have become increasingly concerned about the escalating unsportsmanlike behavior directed primarily towards our officials, especially by our coaches, and more often than not, by your assistant coaches. I have reports of several post-game confrontations that are way over the line of acceptable behavior. In some instances they have resulted in “cards” others not. The head coach should have the opportunity to discuss the game and his/her concerns with the officials in a civil manner and he/she is owed an explanation by the referee. That same privilege does NOT extend to assistant coaches who have been confronting the officials, both during the game and also post-game under the guise of traditional handshakes.

Communication with the officials should be limited to the HEAD COACHES and CAPTAINS. Your assistants should be assisting in coaching your team – not berating the officials on every call that favors the other team. Our officials are being told to be very firm with unsportsmanlike or critical behavior and conduct from others, especially members of the coaching staff who are charged with setting an example for their players. As members of the coaching staff, they are your responsibility as the head coach. Our universities, from the President on down, have made their expectations of sportsmanship very clear, and bad actors will not be tolerated. Also note that under the conference’s Sportsmanship Rule, I am required to review situations in which someone is ejected from a contest for unsportsmanlike behavior/conduct. In soccer, the one game “red card” suspension usually was sufficient punishment. Be advised that this may no longer be the case.

Over the years many of you have helped build our national reputation for outstanding competition and sportsmanship reflective of our high institutional standards. We will not stand idly by and let that reputation erode.

As soccer referees, we must do our job and help conference administrators achieve their goals.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007 at 3:19 pm and is filed under General with keyword(s) . You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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