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Publish date: Aug 26, 2010

Meet the latest NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award winners

Cross country student-athletes Tyler Parks and Mike Smith of Southern New Hampshire University and the Northwestern College (Minn.) women’s volleyball team have been selected as the 2009-2010 NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award winners.

The Sportsmanship Award is given by the Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct (CSEC) to honor student-athletes who demonstrate acts of sportsmanship that have a positive impact on teammates, opponents and fans.

In recognition of their outstanding efforts, the Sportsmanship Award winners will be presented the award during this academic year on their campus with a CSEC committee member in attendance at a ceremony or event of the institution’s choice.

Tyler Parks and Mike Smith
Southern New Hampshire University

Who: Tyler Parks and Mike Smith of Southern New Hampshire University

Why: When competing in the New England Track and Field Championship October 10, 2009, Parks and Smith came across a runner from an opposing team who was unconscious on the wooded course area. It was estimated that the runner had been lying there for three to four minutes and approximately 100 runners had already passed him on the course. The pair stopped to assist the runner, even though doing so prevented them from finishing the race. Parks and Smith helped the runner regain consciousness and assisted him to the nearest medical tent. After the race Parks and Smith were commended by fellow runners for their efforts and received their campus’ sportsmanship award.

Quotable: “They are very protective of their team and their coaches in making sure that everyone is safe and included in all activities they are part of on and off the course,” said Jamie Gratton, SNHU men’s cross country coach.

Northwestern College women’s volleyball team

Who: The Northwestern College women’s volleyball team.

Why: The “Honor Calls” program was developed by the student-athletes, informing officials of their touches at the net if officials or line judges did not see them.  The student-athletes adhered to this commitment, even if the result meant the point would be awarded to the opposing team. The Honor Call system resulted in a loss of 30 points during the season and had an influence on the teams’ final rankings. The Northwestern College volleyball team’s decision to value integrity and competition had an effect on other teams as well. Teams Northwestern competed against followed suit and implemented honor calls in their games as well.

Quotable: “This truly exemplifies the impact that integrity can have in intercollegiate athletics and the positive change on sporting culture one team can make,” said Beth Wilmeth, Northwestern’s head volleyball coach about the impact that the Northwestern College volleyball team’s “Honor Call” had on other teams.