On Thursday the Ohio Valley Conference announced that the Tennessee State University's men's and women's tennis teams are the recipients of the 2011-12 Team Sportsmanship Awards in their respective sports.
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. It marks the second time the TSU men's and women's program have won the awards.
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.
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