Advice on sportsmanship not needed

TCU and SMU will face off Saturday in the annual battle for the Iron Skillet game. It’s a historic rivalry game, but it appears officials from both schools view it as an exercise in sportsmanship.

Chancellor Victor Boschini and SMU President R. Gerald Turner wrote a joint letter asking the school communities to exercise good sportsmanship. Such a letter isn’t necessary, for TCU fans at least.

Before the first home game against Texas State University, former TCU athletics director Danny Morrison e-mailed TCU fans applauding them for their positive sportsmanship in response to praise from the other teams’ fans.

Although Boschini and Turner’s letter isn’t threatening, it contradicts Morrison’s e-mail.

TCU fans do not need reminders that sportsmanship is important because fans already act in a sportsmanlike manner. For example, in the home opener, one of Texas State’s players was injured after a rough play. Where some fans might cheer at the other team’s failures, students and fans from both sides applauded the injured player as he was carried off the field.

Either the fans took Morrison’s praise to heart or they already knew what was appropriate in that situation.

And although the Iron Skillet rivalry is competitive, it isn’t malicious like some other college football rivalries are.

Take the Red River Rivalry between University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma. Those games should require a letter to students and alumni reminding them to exercise good sportsmanship.

Boschini and Turner’s letter acknowledges the two universities for what they are: “medium-sized, private institutions” that “both strive for academic excellence and are passionate about athletics.” That can’t be said about every university.

Furthermore, I have a hard time believing such a letter would be released if the game did not coincide with TCU’s Family Weekend. Boschini wants to assure parents that the university practices moral actions in every area, athletics included. But the letter could have been sent to parents instead of students. By writing this letter, Boschini suggests that students need to be reminded.

The letter is not a bad idea, but it has further implications than intended. Boschini should have thought about such implications before deciding to be a part of it. TCU students don’t even rush the field after big wins. At last year’s BYU win, only a few students rushed the field after the Frogs pulled out the stunning victory. Our fans are the type who stay after the game to sing the Alma Mater, not boo the officials or wreak havoc on the field. With such a reputation, one would think the “advice” Boschini and Turner gave was directed at TCU fans.

As the letter said, fans truly are “responsible for our own actions,” and they need to “demonstrate respect for themselves, their team, and their university by showing respect to all those around them.” But they already knew that.

Wyatt Kanyer is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Yakima, Wash.