New CIAC Sportsmanship Guidelines to be implemented at ELHS this year

By Amelia Anglin

“We will demonstrate respect to ourselves, coaches, teammates, opponents, officials, and spectators, by exhibiting good character, and conducting ourselves as a positive role  model.”
Sound familiar? Now played preceding the tip off of every home basketball game, East Lyme High School announces its new classification as a Class Act school with a recording of its own athletes.
A popular set of new rules throughout the state of Connecticut and especially taking hold of the Eastern Connecticut Conference, the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) Sportsmanship Guidelines provide a structured sense of the expected behavior at sporting events in Connecticut. Everyone, whether it be coaches, spectators, players, or officials, attendees are to reflect their schools in the utmost positive manner.
“It’s all in fun and games, but at the end of the day you have to be respectful,” said junior Sydney Iannatuono, a member of SALT (Student Athlete Leadership Team).
East Lyme High School is now a Class Act school, meaning after passing the application process, the student body is to abide by the rules already implemented by schools such as Stonington, Norwich Free Academy, St. Bernard, and Waterford. East Lyme sent five juniors, Katie Durkee, Dalton Franco, James McCoy, Daven Roberts, and Iannatuono to a meeting in Killingly this past November, where ECC schools discussed the consistency of expectations through the  conference.
“Having this consistency is going to help people understand what is and isn’t allowed, and it’s also good to to be supportiwve of our own athletes versus having negative comments toward others,” Iannantuono  continued.
The group was hand selected by coaches based on their sportsmanship and are taking important roles in beginning the process of integrating the guidelines into ELHS and collaborating with other schools about the best ways to expose ELHS to the new policy. They plan to pull underclassmen into the group of SALT, and hope to set a respectable example for the school as rising seniors. Their involvement in the meeting was one of the initial steps to becoming a Class Act school, and as representatives from ELHS, they helped initiate the new program.
“[We discussed] behaving during games, how to make sure no one is disrespecting referees in the stands, or making sure that our student-athletes are being as sportsmanlike as possible,” said football player Dalton Franco.
The meeting also addressed consequences for anyone who violated these rules-players and spectators alike- and how to keep those constant as well. The CIAC has developed player contracts, holding players to their word when they agree to follow the CIAC  guidelines.
“We are all going to agree that from this point forward, this is what we are going to hold each other accountable for. I think that’s the biggest thing-it’s accountability, and it’s ownership,” said Athletic Director Steve  Hargis.
Since East Lyme has only just become a Class Act school, the focus remains on the player and coach’s contracts, but the aim is set toward establishing spectator pledges in the future. This would help ensure safety and sportsmanship on both sides of a sporting event. There would be some kind of initiative to encourage signatures of spectators, involving the majority of the student body with these expectations, not just the athletes.
By connecting the CIAC guidelines to ELHS’s previously existing concept of REACH, respect will be even further encouraged in the entirety of ELHS.

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