Intramurals: Sportsmanship Rating Scale Keeps Intramurals Friendly
Intramurals: Sportsmanship Rating Scale Keeps Intramurals Friendly

Intramurals: Sportsmanship Rating Scale Keeps Intramurals Friendly

Dick Moss, Editor, PE Update.com

One or two hot-heads in an intramural game can diminish the fun factor for everyone. And allowing players to berate referees makes it difficult to recruit and retain needed officials.

A Sportsmanship Rating Scale can be highly effective at curbing such disruptive behaviors. Here's how it works.

The Rating Scale
The rating tool is a simple scale ranging from 1 to 4:

  • Poor Sportsmanship
  • Below Average
  • Average
  • Above Average

 At the end of each game, the officials and scorekeeper rate the behavior of the teams. If a rating of 1 or 2 is given, officials must record the behavior that caused the poor rating (i.e. “screamed at official twice”).

Ratings can be publicly posted along with game results, so teams can see their score.  Also, team captains should promptly be informed of any low score and the poor behavior that caused it.

Penalties
Rating a team's behavior will be ineffective unless there are consequences for poor conduct. Here are the consequences - these penalties will bring peer pressure to bear on disruptive students.

  • Any team that receives a score of 1 or 2 twice in a row can either be banned from further competition, or be forced to forfeit the second game.
  • An average of 2.5 can be required over the course of the season for a team to advance to the playoffs.

Rewards
You can also use this scoring system to reward teams that demonstrate exceptional sportsmanship. For example, current sportsmanship leaders can be publicized on school bulletin boards, and you could provide an athletic banquet award or even T-shirts to the team(s) with the highest final sportsmanship rating.

Results at East Carolina U.
East Carolina University used this system with their intramural basketball program, then sent a survey to participants.

They found that 89% of team captains thought the rating scale improved their players' level of sportsmanship, including curbing abuse directed towards officials. In addition, 93% wanted the rating scale to be used in the future.

East Carolina U. presents an annual “Spirit of Sport” award to the intramural team that best exhibits participation, sportsmanship and enthusiasm. The Sportsmanship Rating Scale is one of the tools used to determine the winner.

References:
1. Craig Clifford, Randolph Feezell, Sport and Character, Human Kinetics, 2010.
2. Dave Hall, “Encouraging good sportsmanship: A behavior modification tool approved by East Carolina University intramural participants.” Journal of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, Fall 1990.


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