Make good sportsmanship a priority


Dr. Jerome Singleton

I trust that all are having a great start of the academic school year. Please know that your efforts in creating a “new normal” are fully recognized and appreciated. The students in our schools need your leadership, directives, and guidance. You have the ability and responsibility to enhance their educational experience to become a lasting influence on them.

Last week, many member schools participated in extracurricular activities inside and outside the classroom after the normal school day. While most were pleasing and met your expectations, we had several obstructive occurrences in high school athletics. I previously challenged all member schools to make good sportsmanship a priority for the school year. To my delight, most member schools did just that- they met and even exceeded the challenge. I regret to share that some member schools did not ‘understand the assignment’ and failed to meet the challenge. EIGHTEEN (18) member schools displayed unsportsmanlike behavior which led to player ejections and fines for coaches making degrading remarks about officials through public media.  This is unacceptable and strays far away from the playbook of game etiquette.

As previously stated, “Unsportsmanlike behavior is a choice.” It is important that this behavior not be accepted by the member schools involved as well as the association. Athletics in school provide many teachable moments to help the student-athlete mature and learn through each aspect of the journey.  It’s a process. One that can be advantageous to not only the student, but the coach as well. While these types of behaviors by student-athletes tend to be periodically expected but not accepted; when it comes to our coaches, it should never be expected or accepted. Our youth can rise above these reactionary tendencies if they are taught early on by the adults in their life. Coaches, when contributing to the infraction, are held to a higher level of accountability as unsportsmanlike behavior casts a dark shadow over an entire team, school and/or event.

As we move through the rest of the school year, I continue to challenge and advocate for positive actions by all involved in SCHSL events and activities.  Student-athletes, coaches, officials, and fans have complete control of the atmosphere. Players play; Coaches coach; Officials officiate and let’s add: Spectators cheer from the stands. If we collectively put into action those short, finite roles, we can celebrate scoring in life, not just a scoreboard.

Wishing you continued success during the school year,

Commissioner Singleton

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