This afternoon, I spoke to a WIAA official to discuss the “Defining Sportsmanship” issue that is getting national media attention.

Todd Clark, Director of Communications for the WIAA, told me that the WIAA sent these emails to student-athletes, coaches, parents, student bodies, and others as a “customary reminder” in December prior to the indoor sports season beginning. Of course, this would be referring to basketball season really getting going, where most of these guidelines apply.

Clark said that a lot of this has been “misconstrued” in the media and especially on social media by high school students. He said that these guidelines are not new, and that they have been updated in 1997, then 2005, and as recently as 2011. Thus, no changes have been made in almost five years.

Most importantly, Clark wanted to emphasize that the WIAA is not banning cheers, they are just trying to teach proper sportsmanship. As the governing body, Clark said the WIAA is an “extension of the classroom” and they have a responsibility to teach so.

Clark also said that no incidents set this off. He did not reference April Gehl’s suspension or anything else. He simply said this was a friendly reminder for everyone.

Think what about you want about this issue, but let’s make sure people know the facts.


Image: WIAA