Sept. 29, 2006
The University of Pittsburgh has been selected as one of five institutions to receive the Division I-A Athletics Directors Association's "Sportsmanship Recognition Award," it was announced at the association's fall meeting this past week in Dallas, Texas.
The Sportsmanship Recognition Award is designed to recognize the efforts of those NCAA Division I-A athletic departments and their universities who are committed to improving sportsmanship at their school and honor those institutions that exemplify ethics and sportsmanship endeavors because of the exceptional influence of the programs established. The award also aims to raise awareness about issues related to sportsmanship and ethics in intercollegiate athletics and provide a standard of excellence and a promotion of best practices within Division I-A.
"Educating student-athletes on the importance of demonstrating good sportsmanship is the responsibility of every intercollegiate athletic program," Pitt athletic director Jeff Long said. "It is important that all of our student-athletes show respect for teammates, coaches, opponents, game officials and fans. As leaders and educators, it's also our responsibility to communicate to students, season-ticket holders and donors our expectations for their behavior at our events.
"At the University of Pittsburgh, committed leadership from our student-athletes, student leaders,
cheerleaders, band and university community have all enabled us to positively impact the conduct of our fans as a whole. The combined efforts of these groups have resulted in a display of sportsmanship that has come to be known as `Inspiring Pitt Pride.'
"We are very proud of our student-athletes, student body, athletic staff and the university administration for making sportsmanship a priority on our campus. We've made great strides in this area, but we're not finished yet. We must continue to send a strong, positive sportsmanship message. In higher education, it's our responsibility to demonstrate good sportsmanship in athletics and across our campus."
The title of the sportsmanship effort at the University of Pittsburgh is called "Inspiring Pitt Pride." It was developed by the student spirit group "The Panther Pitt." The Panther Pitt is one of many student organizations involved in the Inspiring Pitt Pride Committee, a group of student leaders and staff committed to represent the University in a positive manner at athletics events.
The Inspiring Pitt Pride Committee includes such student organizations as Pitt Program Council, Oakland Zoo, Black Action Society, Pitt's cheer and dance teams, Intrafraternity Council, Pitt Band, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Panhellenic Association, Resident Student Association, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Student Government Board and Pitt's student radio station WPTS FM.
Many offices across Pitt's campus also actively participate in and support these efforts, including the offices of Student Affairs, Student Life and Residence Life; SMG (management group for the Petersen Events Center); CSC (security group for the Petersen Events Center and Heinz Field); ALCO Parking; Pitt Police; and Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Students.
Through this unique collaboration across campus, Pitt has experienced tremendous improvements in student fan spirit, enthusiasm and positive participation. Pitt students are leading the way to show the country that the University of Pittsburgh is an outstanding institution.
These university-wide collaborations and the engagement of student leaders have helped students get directly involved with events, communicate expectations and publicly recognize positive fan behaviors and strengthen related policies. Teamwork, partnership and respect by both students and Pitt's administration have been crucial in creating an environment in Pitt's athletic venues where all fans enjoy and value the experience.
Some examples of this collaborative effort include student-run events featuring appearances by Pitt head coaches, participation by large student organizations in the "Hail to Pitt" football pre-game ceremony, and the Panther Zone, a student-run event held three hours prior to each football kickoff.