Sportsmanship in Durham Public Schools

  • Durham Public Schools athletic programs are committed to the practice of good sportsmanship, ethics and integrity.  The following definitions and expectations provide valuable information.

    “Good sportsmanship is viewed by the National Federation of High School Associations as a commitment to fair play, ethical behavior and integrity.  In perception and practice, sportsmanship is defined as those qualities that are characterized by generosity and genuine concern for others.  The ideals of sportsmanship apply equally to all athletic disciplines.  Individuals, regardless of their role in athletics, are expected to be aware of their influence on the behavior of others and model good sportsmanship.”

    Educational Based Athletics

    Durham Public Schools (DPS) athletic programs provide an educationally-based environment for student-athletes to grow and develop as young adults.  These programs aim to teach student-athletes life lessons through sports.  This commitment includes but is not limited to fair play, ethical behavior and integrity. Sportsmanship is defined as those qualities which characterize generosity and genuine concern for others on and off the playing field. 

    These include the following:                                                                                                                                                        

    • Play fair; take the victory without gloating or the loss or defeat without complaint.                                                         
    • Treat others as you would like to be treated.
    • Respect yourself as well as others.
    • Utilize self-control, be courteous, and accept the outcome of your actions.
    • Display proper ethical behavior by exhibiting good character and doing the right thing.
    • Show Citizenship.


    • Realize a purchased ticket provides the privilege to observe a contest, support high school athletics, and display good sportsmanship. A ticket is not a license to verbally assault others or be generally obnoxious.
    • Respect decisions made by contest officials.
    • Be an exemplary role model by positively supporting teams in every manner possible, including content of cheers and signs.
    • Respect fans, coaches, directors and participants.

    Examples of ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR for EVERYONE in attendance at athletic contests.

    • Applause during the introduction of players, coaches and officials.
    • Accept all decisions of the officials.
    • Cheerleaders lead fans in encouraging school cheers, performed in a positive manner.
    • Handshakes between participants and coaches at the end of the contest, regardless of outcome.
    • Treat competition as a game, not a war.
    • Coaches and players search out opposing participants to recognize them for outstanding performance.
    • Applause at the end of a contest for performances by all participants.
    • Showing concern for an injured player, regardless of team.
    • Encouraging surrounding people to display only sportsmanlike conduct.
    • During the National Anthem, student-athletes, participants, coaches and fans remove all hats or headwear, face the flag, remain silent, place their right hand on the heart and remain still until the end of the anthem.
    • During the National Anthem, if singing, follow the music and lyrics precisely.

    Examples of UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR for EVERYONE in attendance at athletic contests.

    • Disrespectful or derogatory cheers, chants, songs or gestures.
    • Booing or heckling an official’s decision.
    • Criticizing officials in any way; displaying anger at an official’s call.
    • Refusing to shake hands or give recognition for good performances.
    • Blaming losses on officials, coaches or participants.
    • Laughing or name-calling to distract an opponent.
    • Use of profanity or displays of anger that draw attention away from the game or activity.
    • Performing one’s own cheer, instead of following the lead of cheerleaders.



    Positive Sport Parenting

    The Parent Seat