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About Sportsmanship

The NCAA Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Committee has developed the following definitions for sportsmanship and ethical conduct.

  • Sportsmanship is a set of behaviors to be exhibited by student-athletes, coaches, game officials, administrators and fans in athletic competition.  These behaviors are based on values, especially respect and integrity.
  • Ethical conduct is a set of guiding principles with which each person follows the letter and spirit of the rules.  Such conduct reflects a higher standard than law because it includes, among other principles, fundamental values that define sportsmanship.

Sportsmanship is one of 16 defining principles of the Association:

NCAA Bylaw 2.4 The Principles of Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct.

For intercollegiate athletics to promote the character development of participants, to enhance the integrity of higher education and to promote civility in society, student-athletes, coaches, and all others associated with these athletic programs and events should adhere to such fundamental values as respect, fairness, civility, honest and responsibility.  These values should be manifested not only in athletics participation but also in the broad spectrum of activities affecting the athletics program.  It is the responsibility of each institution to: (Revised: 1/9/96)

  • Establish policies for sportsmanship and ethical conduct in intercollegiate athletics consistent with the educational mission and goals of the institution; and (Adopted: 1/9/96)
  • Educate, on a continuing basis, all constituencies about the policies in Constitution 2.4-(a). (Adopted: 1/9/96)