NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State softball program was awarded the 2017-18 Ohio Valley Conference Team Sportsmanship Award, as announced by the conference office on Monday. This marks the second time the program has won the award, the first coming after the 2008-09 season, in the 13th year of the honors existence.
The award is voted on by the student-athletes and coaches of the respective sports. The honor is based on the program that has exhibited the standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior as outlined by the OVC and NCAA, which includes the conduct of student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators and fans.
“Without sportsmanship there are truly no meaningful victories,” said Beth DeBauche, OVC Commissioner. “The recipients of the OVC Team Sportsmanship awards should accept this award with great pride for their fellow competitors have made it clear their teams exemplify the best in intercollegiate athletics. In receiving this prestigious honor other competitors are saying these student-athletes compete with class, respect their opponents and value fair play. That is quite a compliment as those are all traits that will lead to true victories throughout the course of life.”
The 2017-18 school year marks the 13th year the team sportsmanship honors have been awarded. This is the second-straight award for the Tennessee State softball program.
Implemented in August 2005, the team honors are the most recent addition to an awards program that recognizes and celebrates sportsmanship within the Conference. In 1998, the league established the Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to a male or female student-athlete of junior or senior status who best exemplifies the characteristics of the late Morehead State student-athlete, coach and administrator. Five years later, the Conference added the OVC Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to the member institution selected by its peers to have best exhibited the standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior as outlined by the OVC and NCAA.
In 1995, the Ohio Valley Conference implemented a first-of-its-kind “Sportsmanship Statement,” a policy promoting principles of fair play, ethical conduct and respect for one’s opponent. The statement answered the challenge of the NCAA Presidents Commission to improve sportsmanship in collegiate athletics, and has become a model for others to follow across the nation.