Sportsmanship rules set

TCU students, faculty, staff and fans need to mind their manners in the Mountain West Conference.In compliance with the Mountain West Conference Sportsmanship Initiative, TCU is required to run an ad informing the TCU community of its expected behaviors at conference events.

“The Sportsmanship Initiative has always been a front-burning topic,” said Javan Hedlund, assistant commissioner of communications for the MWC.

According to the MWC handbook, “All members of the conference are expected to exhibit ethical behavior at all NCAA and conference competition.”

The guidelines, in practice since the conference’s conception in 1998, apply to administrators, coaches, student-athletes and anyone else connected to college athletics.

Hedlund said unacceptable behavior includes the heckling of officials, players and coaches on the field.

Those who display what the conference deems as unsportsmanlike conduct can be reprimanded publicly or privately, Hedlund said. If severe enough, unacceptable behavior could result in suspension from the conference.

Dan Abdalla, head soccer coach, came to TCU from University of Nevada-Las Vegas and is familiar with the MWC policy.

“As long as I can remember, Mountain West has always tried to maintain a family environment,” Abdalla said.

Conference USA, TCU’s previous conference, has different wording on its policies of conduct on its Web site, but conveys the same principles and expectations as the MWC.

Hedlund said the variations between the conferences include how each conference handles violations.

“The fans adhere to the program pretty well, and they have a passion and enthusiasm that I enjoy,” Abdalla said.

The MWC has had a lot of cooperation with the fans, coaches and student-athletes because the conference has kept the sportsmanship initiative a key factor in the way sporting events are conducted, Abdalla said.

– Adrienne Lang contributed to this story.