June 3, 2004
Brentwood, Tenn. - Southeast Missouri State University is the recipient of the Ohio Valley Conference inaugural Sportsmanship Award. The award, which was presented Thursday at the league's annual Honors Luncheon in Nashville, Tenn., goes to the Conference institution selected by its peers to have best exhibited the standards of sportsmanship and ethical conduct as outlined by the OVC and NCAA.
"This award," said OVC Commissioner Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher, should be ranked in importance at the same level as the league's All-Sports trophies or individual Conference championships.
"Sportsmanship is a core value of the OVC," continued Steinbrecher, "and this award allows us to recognize excellence in sportsmanship as well as reinforce and celebrate the importance of ethical behavior in how our institutions conduct their programs. The administrators, coaches, student-athletes and fans at Southeast Missouri are to be commended for their diligence in maintaining the high standards set forth by the OVC and NCAA."
"It is particularly gratifying to be the first OVC school to be selected by our peers for outstanding sportsmanship," said Don Kaverman, Southeast director of athletics. "To receive the award with NCAA President Myles Brand in attendance was particularly gratifying. Winning the award is a credit to our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans."
The award, which was implemented in August, 2003, is one of two accolades bestowed by the Conference to honor sportsmanship. In 1998, the league established the Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to a male or female student-athlete of junior or senior standing who best exemplifies characteristics of the late Morehead State University student-athlete and athletics director by way of significant athletics performance and good sportsmanship and citizenship.
In 1995, the Ohio Valley Conference implemented a first-of-its-kind Sportsmanship Statement, a policy promoting the 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.