The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) held its third and final sportsmanship week of the academic year this past week, April 10-16, promoting its sportsmanship awareness campaign.
During the 2016-17 academic year and sports seasons, three weeks were dubbed PSAC Sportsmanship weeks: Oct 17-23 in the fall, Jan 23-29 in the winter, and April 10-16 for the spring.
The PSAC Sportsmanship Week is a campaign to emphasize and promote sportsmanship as it relates to the league’s schools, coaches, student-athletes and fans,” an April 7 PSAC press release said. “Through releases, social media and the web, the conference and its member institutions showcase their continuous commitment to sportsmanship.”
At every PSAC home competition during the week, the home team will display their sportsmanship by initiating a pregame handshake, in addition to the traditional postgame one. Additionally, PSAC and member schools will amplify the campaign through releases, social media platforms and official accounts, as mentioned in the press release. The sportsmanship activities can be seen on the PSAC’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #PSACSportsmanship.
“We’re proud of our PSAC member institutions for their continued commitment to sportsmanship, not only during the upcoming week, but throughout the 2016-17 seasons,” PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray said in the press release. “It remains of the utmost importance in the PSAC, and we will continue to highlight and emphasize its importance to our teams and fans.”
During the sportsmanship week of April 10-16 there were 74 total intercollegiate athletic events on the docket. All spring sports (men’s and women’s tennis, baseball, softball, women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field) were involved. Precisely, there were 20 baseball games and 21 softball games, eight men’s tennis matches and 13 women’s tennis matches. To round things out, there were 11 women’s lacrosse games and one outdoor track meet.
Shifting focus, The Rock had nine scheduled games throughout the week.
“I think sportsmanship means respecting your opponent, and your opponent respecting you,” Slippery Rock Athletic Director Paul Lueken said.
Lueken also cites acting professionally no matter the outcome as another meaning of sportsmanship. For the most part, Slippery Rock athletics has a done a good job at being good sports, Lueken said.
According to Lueken, Murray recently rewrote the sportsmanship policy and implemented sportsmanship week after seeing it executed successfully in another conference.
“If anything, it just brings it (sportsmanship) to the forefront,” Lueken said. “But sportsmanship should always be in the back of our mind.”
Lueken said the women’s soccer team already participated in pregame handshakes before the sportsmanship weeks, because it’s the international way to introduce soccer teams. Additionally, women’s field hockey and lacrosse as well as women’s volleyball already coordinated pregame handshakes before the sportsmanship campaign. However, for basketball and football, it was unique.
“If it’s good for some sports, it’s obviously good for all,” Lueken said.
“Beyond sportsmanship, a new branding initiative is coming to the PSAC,” Lueken said. “There will be new PSAC logos relevant to Slippery Rock’s colors on banners next year. Uniforms will have the PSAC logo in the school’s colors as well. It’s just part of a deeper bind in terms of that school and a conference.”
Lueken said another development is the ongoing development of a new strategic plan for athletics.
“It’s kind of like the sportsmanship week, we might establish some community service type of promotional events that have athletic events so that people know more about what out student athletes do,” Lueken said.