FHSAA Observes High School Activities Month, With Special Emphasis on Sportsmanship and Adult Participants
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Efforts by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) over the past few months to emphasize sportsmanship in high school sports appear to be paying off, as suspensions arising out of football games are down more than 25 percent from last year. This news comes as the association joins in celebrations of National High School Activities Month, beginning with this week’s observance of Sportsmanship and Fan Appreciation Week.
“Athletics are a key part of many schools’ wealth of activities for their students, and the FHSAA proudly recognizes the value of sports as part of an assortment hat includes performing arts, debate and other vital activities,” said Dr. Roger Dearing, the FHSAA’s executive director. “Every educator’s goal is to keep students engaged and invested in their schools, and athletics is often the most visible way of foster school pride.”
Each week of October will feature a theme, and the first and third weeks of the month particularly pertain to the FHSAA’s area of emphasis. The week of October 1-6 is designated Sportsmanship and Fan Appreciation Week, while the week of October 15-20 is National Coaches/Sponsors/Advisors/Officials Week.
Dearing said he is hopeful that student-athletes, coaches, parents and others who share a passion for high school football are respecting the ideals of good sportsmanship.
One encouraging early, though not scientific, indication is a comparison of suspension rates involving high school football. During the first five weeks of this football season, apparent rule violations have led to 101 suspensions. During the same time period of the 2011 season, 136 suspensions were issued – a 25.7 percent decline.
The FHSAA underscores sportsmanship throughout the year. Association representatives discuss sportsmanship when they regularly meet with member schools, and it is a topic in compliance seminars attended by all member schools every two years. The association also promotes sportsmanship in weekly email alerts and on a dedicated page on its website (www.fhsaa.org/departments/sportsmanship). In addition, this Thursday the FHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will meet to discuss production of a sportsmanship commercial that would air on the Bright House Sports Network later in the year.
Dearing said he is also pleased that one of the weeks in National High School Activities Month is being set aside to recognize coaches, sponsors, advisors and officials.
“Without the countless adults who devote their time and energy to help young athletes, high school sports simply would not be possible,” Dearing said. “Too often the contributions of these dedicated individuals go overlooked, and this month presents an excellent opportunity for student-athletes and others to say ‘thank you.’ “
Observed since 1980 (originally as just a week-long celebration), National High School Activities Week is an opportunity to remind the public that through its schools, every community has a comprehensive program addressing society’s most current concerns, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
According to the national organization, high school activities help meet these issues by finding and nurturing the best effort of each young participant, encouraging students to stay in school and perform better academically, demanding respect for fair play and challenging racism, sexism and classism through the active pursuit of teamwork and school spirit.
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About the FHSAA
Since it was established in 1920, the Florida High School Athletic Association has provided opportunities for high school students in Florida to participate fairly and equally in interscholastic athletic programs that produce vital educational benefits. The FHSAA sponsors championship programs through which 108 teams and more than 720 student-athletes are crowned state champions in 30 sports each year. Through participation in these athletic programs, almost 800,000 students annually are extended opportunities to receive lessons in leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship.