School board proposes sportsmanship policy - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

School board proposes sportsmanship policy

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Khadijah Lee admits it herself: "I've got the worst temper on the team!"

The senior plays on Capital High's basketball team. But Lee said she's a firm believer that what happens on the court, stays on the court.

"I think it is necessary to shake hands so you don't have tension on the court, and it doesn't lead to other things, like us fighting or getting kicked off," Lee said.

Lee is one of many people who support a recent proposal made by members of the Kanawha County School Board.

They're proposing a sportsmanship policy that outlines how coaches, fans, and players behave themselves during and after games.

"It's a life lesson and they need to learn, you gotta have a good attitude," said Becky Jordon, a member of the school board. "You're wearing our jerseys, you're representing our schools, and you need to have the same behavior you would in a classroom."

During a playoff game between South Charleston and Hurricane in November 2010, a fight erupted with seconds left in the game.

"Sometimes when games come about, emotions run high," said BJ Calabrese, the head coach for the Lady Cougars at Capital in Charleston.

Calabrese said he supports this new proposal. Jordon said the policy wouldn't make shaking hands mandatory, but Calabrese said on his team, it is mandatory, or else.

"We'll sit a kid out a game or two for behaviors we feel are inappropriate," he said.

Players also sign a form pledging they'll carry their sportsmanship off the court, and into the classroom and their homes.

Parents said they'd love to see a guideline passed that encourages more civility.

"It would teach the students the final score is not the bottom line in athletics," said Charles Bolen, whose daughter plays basketball for Riverside High School. "We have to learn how to lose, and that we need to be good sports anyway."

But others said parents and coaches should be in charge of enforcing these rules because the discipline starts at home.

"I think it's a little much for board members to have to come in and say,' This is what we need to do,'" said Tonette Burger, whose daughter also plays for Riverside. "Are the board members coming to the games? Are they here to see what is being done?"

Currently there is no countywide policy on sportsmanship.

Members will let the public discuss the issue at the next school board meeting in February.