From: Joe Velardi <firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Dec 9, 2019 12:57 PM
To: All CIAC Schools, Principals, Athletic Directors, League Commissioners
The CIAC, in an effort to improve sportsmanship throughout the state, has reformed the CIAC Sportsmanship Committee. The CIAC Sportsmanship Committee is working diligently and is setting the direction for our efforts to improve behaviors in high school sports in Connecticut. To that end, the committee has identified two areas as targets for improvement:
1. The treatment of officials.
2. The behavior of adults at sports events.
There is a growing concern among CIAC membership and local officiating boards that abuse at games is resulting in a shortage of officials in all sports. Part of the reason is that officials are often subject to abuse at games. Compounding this problem is when younger officials are ridiculed at the JV or freshmen games. Newer officials need to grow and learn so they don’t become too discouraged and quit. This problem has been documented in numerous articles and news broadcasts across the country and the CIAC Sportsmanship Committee is addressing the problem in the following ways:
1. Officials Appreciation Weeks. The CIAC has established the 2nd and 3rd weeks of January 2020 for winter sports (boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, ice hockey, wrestling, boys swimming, gymnastics); and the first two weeks of May 2020 for spring sports (baseball, softball, boys’ lacrosse, girls’ lacrosse and boys’ volleyball). We are asking schools to participate in a small, inexpensive gesture at one game for each sport for each level (varsity, jv, freshmen). Some ideas could be a greeting card signed by the team, a ball signed by the team, an announcement/introduction of the official by the team captain, shaking hands with the officials before the start of the game. The responsibility for this should be handed to team leaders and Class Act Committees.
2. Guidelines for administering officials at home games. We are working on a set of guidelines for athletic administrators and coaches in how officials should be greeted and communicated with at home contests. We will be sending these guidelines out in the near future.
Our students and athletic directors are telling us that they are upset and embarrassed by the behavior of adult spectators at sports events. Many students are expressing that those behaviors are detracting from their performance and the enjoyment of their sport. Athletic Directors are continually put in conflict with parents. The CIAC Sportsmanship Committee is asking schools and leagues to take the following steps.
1. Become a Class Act School. In some leagues, every school is a Class Act School. If you would like more information about Class Act Schools we will be happy to send a CIAC representative to your school or league to present information and answer questions. Being a Class Act School establishes a set of standards for behaviors at athletic contests. Information about how to become a Class Act School can be found at http://ciacsports.com/site/?page_id=10438
2. Communicate expectations through parent booster clubs, team boosters and PTAs.
3. The CIAC has established Public Service Announcements (http://ciacsports.com/site/?p=14001) regarding parent/spectator behavior. These will be broadcast on local television. The PSAs are also available from the CIAC to show on your school broadcasts, link to your athletics web site and show at parent preseason meetings.
When all is said and done, the experience for everyone is better when the behavior from everyone is good. Please join us in taking these steps to assure a great experiences for all!