Written May 18, 2005

This policy has been written by the M.S.A.C. Commissioner and school principals to help maintain a healthy balance between fair play and safety.  Our plan is to define sportsmanship and integrity. This policy is a conference goal to establish better relationships between coaches, officials and students. Our student athletes, coaches, parents and fans must be made aware of the true meaning of sportsmanship. In order to practice good sportsmanship, we must first define it.


Sportsmanship is defined as the practice of participating in sports with a conduct and attitude considered to be befitting of a participant in that sport, especially fair play, courtesy,striving spirit, and grace in losing. It encompasses both Ethical Behavior and acts of Integrity.

Ethics is defined as the principles of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or a group. It is a system of principles governing acceptable conduct.

Integrity is defined as a firm adherence to a code of values that incorporates the principles of honesty.  With these definitions in mind, the Mountain State Athletic Conference would like to challenge all administrators and coaches to work very hard at teaching these principles of ethics and integrity to our student/athletes, coaches, parents and fans. We will then be able to achieve our goal of improving sportsmanship.  The following are sportsmanship responsibilities for coaches, student athletes, school administration and athletic officials.

Handshaking will continue to be carried out by all athletic teams and their entire coaching staff. All coaches will take part and a penalty will be assessed if a member of a school’s coaching staff refuses to participate.  The sportsmanship hand shaking will be done before or after the athletic event.  The home school will choose and notify the visiting team of their decision.  All coaches will supervise the entire hand shaking procedure for the safety of the athletes and to promote good sportsmanship.

Athletes that trash talk, use obscene gestures or profanity during an athletic event will be assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (by example team penalties: technical foul or fifteen yard penalty, player penalties: in soccer a yellow card or hard red card will be called). Upon a second offense, in the same game the athlete will be removed from the contest.


When students resort to the use of physical abuse (throwing a punch, slapping, pushing, shoving, etc.) that athlete will be removed from the contest. The athletes Involved will be investigated by the commissioner or his appointees to see if they will be dismissed from participating in practice or for more than one game. This policy will not dictate that the athlete will be dismissed from daily classroom attendance, only from athletic games and practice. If individual schools have a policy stating that athletes will also be dismissed from classroom attendance that will be at the discretion of that particular high school.

When student athletes resort to throwing objects (balls, towels, water bottles, or kicking chairs) officials will be instructed to call an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on that athlete and their team. If the same athlete has more than one penalty during that competition the athlete will be removed from the contest. Only team penalties are assessed against the team. Athlete penalties will not count against the head coach unless the coach is called for an unsportsmanlike like conduct.

Coaches shall be held responsible for the actions of their student athlete. During that coaches sport season, if he or she has more than three student athletes removed from a contest for any offenses listed in this document (trash talking, obscene gestures, profanity, fighting or throwing objects) then the head coach will be suspended from participating in the next contest. An additional one game suspension will result for each violation in excess of the third student being removed. If the suspension occurs on the last game of the season the penalty will be enforced on the first game of the next year.

All official organizations will be given a written copy of the new no tolerance policy for M.S.A.C. schools when officiating at Conference events. Officials will be supervised by principals, athletic directors, coaches and the commissioner to see that this policy is being enforced.  If an official fails to do so, a phone call (within 24 hours) followed by a written statement (within 48 hours) from that school’s athletic director must be given to the commissioner.  If this policy has not been enforced, the official or officials will lose their next two M.S.A.C. games.  The second offense will be four games and the third offense will be no games for one year. Officials will be asked to notify the school and the commissioner within forty-eight hours (by phone or in writing) when any of the sportsmanship policy penalties are called. They must supply the athlete’s name and uniform number. It will be the Commissioner’s responsibility to explain or clarify the policy to officials upon their request.

High school principals and athletic directors will investigate each of the above sportsmanship infractions at their local school. A written statement will be given to the commissioner and he will then investigate to assure that a fair and balanced decision is carried out. The athletic director will assist the commissioner during his investigation by providing video tapes of games or interview transcriptions if needed. The athletic director must be present during all interviews. All conference schools must support the commissioner’s final decision. No athletic director, principal or coach will be allowed to make statements to the news media about any policy discussions. Only the commissioner will give news releases.