Oct. 18, 2007
When NCAA President Myles Brand visited with a group of Auburn student-athletes on campus last spring, we discussed the importance of sportsmanship in college athletics.
Not long after that, a group of us had a chance to meet with Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs. Mr. Jacobs asked us what we wanted our legacy to be after we leave Auburn. We decided on sportsmanship and community service.
That planted the seed for a new sportsmanship initiative. From there, the wheels started turning, and "Auburn Pride" was born. This sportsmanship program is being driven by student-athletes and is aimed at encouraging good sportsmanship across all 21 sports at Auburn. Yet we also want to share the sportsmanship message with our fans and encourage them to support our efforts.
Our goal is to be noticed nationwide for having the best sportsmanship among our student-athletes, staff and fans. The Auburn Pride Sportsmanship Code reads, "All members (Coaches, staff, student-athletes and supporters) of Auburn University Athletics at all times, towards all people will show:
Accountability - Be responsible for one's actions
Understanding- Work to obtain knowledge in and out of the classroom
Belief- Have confidence in myself and others, and be trustworthy
Unity - Show teamwork through service in the pursuit of development and victory
Respect - Have dignity and honor while being considerate to others
Nobility - Have integrity and a moral purpose to do no harm."
At each sporting event, fans will hear an overview of our program similar to the one above. They will be reminded about the goals we are trying to instill into Auburn University.
This is a big idea. In order for it to be successful, it is critical that all student-athletes, staff, and, just as importantly, our fans come together and support it. We should exhibit good sportsmanship on and off the field as student-athletes, and in the stands as fans.
While we are looking to be noted for our sportsmanship, please do not worry that our intensity or passion will decrease in any way. Being a fair competitor does not mean being less competitive. In fact, the sportsmanship program emphasizes accountability and unity, which are key ingredients for winning teams.
Auburn has a tradition of being a top athletics program, and I know that all the student-athletes here now plan to continue and be a part of that winning tradition.
We thank you for your support.
Summer Ragsdale, a junior soccer player from Birmingham, is chairman of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at Auburn University