Sportsmanship and Success in Soccer

August 16, 2012

Ralph Polson, president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), reports in the July/August 2012 Soccer Journal that there is a strong statistical link between sportsmanship and success in intercollegiate soccer.  He cites the work of Tim Lenahan, head men’s coach at Northwestern University, who compiled total fouls, yellow cards and red cards for the 2011 season to create a “Fair Play Rating” (FPR).

Polson reports that 12 of the 20 teams with the top FPR made the NCAA tournament, while only one of the teams in the bottom 20 did.  Of course, this is a statistical link, not necessarily cause and effect.  But here’s how Mr. Polson concludes his column:

“How should we interpret this data?  One direction is toward more disciplined teams.  It seems to me the more a culture of sportsmanship and fair play is established, the more likely any team is to demonstrate the consistency needed for success.  The data suggests those teams without entrenched standards, with respect to on-field behavior, should anticipate a higher likelihood of failure in today’s highly competitive environment.

“Play within the spirit of the game and more than just a win may be gained; play against the spirit of the game and much more than just a game may be lost.”

Dr. Brian Crossman, chair of the NSCAA Ethics Committee, contributes this to the discussion in the same issue of Soccer Journal:

“A five year study from 2007 to 2011 of almost 4,700 intercollegiate soccer matches in which only one player was red-carded during the match showed a strong likelihood that the player’s team would lose.  Teams that had one player red-carded lost 67 percent of the matches, tied 10 percent of the matches and won 23 percent of the matches.  In other words, a team that had a player red-carded at any time during the match was three times more likely to lose the match than win it.  Taking steps to encourage clean and fair play, and thus to reduce the likelihood of having players ejected, will pay dividends in sportsmanship and should improve your team’s won-loss record.”

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Applications Available for 2022-23 Scholar-Athlete Awards

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

October 26, 2022

One of the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s most popular programs, the Scholar-Athlete Award, will again with Farm Bureau Insurance present 32 $2,000 scholarships to top student-athletes at member high schools during the 2022-23 school year.

The MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Award highlights the value extracurricular activities play in the total education of high school students, often improving their academic achievements in the process. The Scholar-Athlete Award is in its 34th year. Since the award’s inception in 1988-89, Farm Bureau Insurance has presented $960,000 in scholarships through this program.

The first 30 scholarships will be presented on a graduated basis across the MHSAA’s traditional class structure. From Class A schools, six boys and six girls will receive scholarships; from Class B schools, four boys and four girls; from Class C schools, three boys and three girls; and from Class D schools, two boys and two girls will be honored. The final two scholarships will be awarded at-large to minority recipients, regardless of school size. The scholarships may be used at the institution of higher learning the recipients attend during the first year at those colleges.

Applications from individual schools will be limited to the number of available scholarships in their enrollment class. Class A schools may submit the names of six boys and six girls, Class B schools may submit four boys and four girls, Class C may submit three boys and three girls and Class D may submit two boys and two girls.

Students applying for Scholar-Athlete Awards must be graduating during the 2022-23 school year, be carrying an unrounded 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average and have won a varsity letter in a sport in which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament: baseball, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys bowling, girls competitive cheer, girls and boys cross country, football, girls and boys golf, girls gymnastics, ice hockey, girls and boys lacrosse, girls and boys skiing, girls and boys soccer, softball, girls and boys swimming & diving, girls and boys tennis, girls and boys track & field, girls volleyball and wrestling.

Applicants will be required to show involvement in other school and community activities and submit an essay on the importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics. 

Information – including answers to a number of frequently asked questions – and links to the application are available online on the Scholar-Athlete Award page. Applications are available in digital format only and must be submitted online by 4 p.m. Dec. 2.

A committee composed of school administrators from across the state will select finalists and winners in late January, with the winners to be announced throughout February. All applicants, finalists and scholarship recipients will be announced on the MHSAA Website. The 32 scholarship recipients will be recognized during the 2023 MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing.

Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan was founded in 1949 by Michigan farmers who wanted an insurance company that worked as hard as they did. Those values still guide the company today and are a big reason why it is known as Michigan’s Insurance Company, dedicated to protecting the farms, families, and businesses of this great state. Farm Bureau Insurance agents across Michigan provide a full range of insurance services—life, home, auto, farm, business, retirement, Lake Estate®, and more— protecting more than 660,000 Michigan residents.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.