Sportsmanship Course Updated in NFHS Learning Center with Call for Better Behavior at High School Contests

The Stratford baseball team celebrates after beating Boyceville 7-5 in a Division 3 semifinal at the WIAA State Baseball Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton. The Tigers will play in the D-3 state championship game Thursday. (Photo by Paul Lecker/MarshfieldAreaSports.com)

~ From NFHS ~

One of the longest-running and most utilized online education courses in the NFHS Learning Center has been updated with an urgent call for better behavior and conduct by everyone at high school games and contests.

The free “Sportsmanship” course, which debuted on the NFHS Learning Center in 2011, has been delivered to more than 920,000 individuals in the past 11 years, and is among the top five most popular courses offered through the NFHS’ online education center.

With sportsmanship being one of most important outcomes of involvement in education-based activity programs, perhaps appropriately, students have taken more than 70 percent of the “Sportsmanship” courses in the past. Given the decline in behavior by other groups at high school games, the updated “Sportsmanship” course reiterates the critical importance of positive behaviors by everyone – parents, coaches, students, officials and others.

In the opening of the updated course, Dr. Karissa Niehoff, CEO of the NFHS, addresses the behavior of parents and other fans at high school games and its effect on the state of officiating around the country.

“Parents and other fans must come to school events to cheer for their school’s players, not against the officials or opponents,” Niehoff said. “We all have the opportunity to change this negative and dangerous culture of spectator behavior. It starts with each of us, no matter our role – coach, student, administrator, official, fan or parent. We all must commit to treating one another with dignity and respect.”

The revised “Sportsmanship” course provides an understanding of what good sportsmanship looks and sounds like, clearly defines everyone’s roles during interscholastic events and reaffirms a commitment to maintaining those roles for the betterment of the students and activities involved. The revised course also features interviews with students, parents, coaches, administrators and officials about sportsmanship.

“Nothing is more important to education-based activity programs than sportsmanship,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services. “With the growing concerns about how bad behavior is affecting recruiting and retention of officials, we felt this course needed to be updated to include some strong messaging in this regard.”

After starting with two courses – “Fundamentals of Coaching” and “First Aid, Health and Safety” – in 2007 through the former NFHS Coach Education Program, the NFHS Learning Center now offers 88 online courses – 68 of which are free – at www.NFHSLearn.com.

Amazingly, more than 17 million courses have been taken since the inception of the program, including 700,000 in August, an all-time record for one month. More than 6.6 million “Concussion in Sports” courses have been delivered, and just over one million “Concussion for Students” courses have been taken.

Courses are now available to students, coaches, parents, administrators, officials and performing arts/educators.

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Know some top athletic performances? Seeing some great teams in action?

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Nominate an athlete or team: HERE

Pancakes or Waffles!  We feature top area athletes with our world-renowned feature. Send us your nominations for who you’d like us to interview HERE

Baked or Fried! We also feature difference makers throughout central Wisconsin: coaches, booster club leaders, adminstration, volunteers, you name it. Send us your nominations for who you’d like us to interview HERE

College Athlete Roundup! We want to recognize student-athletes from the area who are competing at the college level. Send us information on college athletes from the area with our simple form HERE

Where are they Now? We feature athletes and difference makers  from the past, standouts in sports who excelled over the years and have moved on. Know of a former athlete, coach or difference maker who we should feature? Know of a former standout competitor whose journey beyond central Wisconsin sports is one we should share? Send us information on athletes and difference makers of the past with our simple form HERE 

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]