BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – On Tuesday the Ohio Valley Conference announced that SIUE is the recipient of the 2011-12 Team Sportsmanship Award for both men's and women's basketball.
Voted on by the student-athletes and coaches of the respective sports, the team awards are bestowed upon the Conference squads deemed to have best exhibited the standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior as outlined by the OVC and NCAA. Included in the areas for evaluation are 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 2011-12 school year marks the seventh year the team sportsmanship honors have been awarded. This marks the first award for the either SIUE basketball program and the second year in a row (and third overall) that a school has swept the awards.
The SIUE men finished its first season of OVC competition with a 6-10 record in OVC play.
"It's an honor to receive this award," said SIUE men's basketball coach Lennox Forrester. "It is a credit to our players, our fans, and our administration. This recognizes the quality in the way things are done and that we are part of a first class organization."
In its first full season of OVC play, the SIUE women finished third in the standings with a 12-4 overall record. The team hosted a game in the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) following the season and capped the year with 18 total victories.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the conference and our fellow members," said SIUE women's basketball coach Amanda Levens. "The award is a reflection of the University and the program as a whole. We're lucky to have the support staff that we have at SIUE. Our marketing department, event staff and administration work hard to create a first class environment for the fans and also our fellow student-athletes. It has paid off."
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.