The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s recent move to promote sportsmanship appears to have blown up in its face.
WIAA communications director Todd Clark sent an email in late December to state high school administrators reminding them of the organization’s sportsmanship guidelines as it pertains to fans, particularly schools’ student sections.
“We want to address concerns with a noticeable increase in the amount of chants by student sections directed at opponents and/or opponents’ supporters that are clearly intended to taunt or disrespect,” Clark’s email read, per Madison.com.
He went on to say “school administrators and event managers should take immediate steps to correct this unsporting behavior.” That sounds all well and good. No one wants to go to a high school game and hear student sections saying hurtful and vulgar things to the opposition or to the referees.
But when you read the list of chants Clark’s email targets, it seems to be a little misguided at best. At worst, it’s an out-of-touch overreaction when the WIAA, like just about every other high school governing body across the country, probably has much larger issues it should deal with first.
Clark’s email listed the following chants as “specific examples of unsporting behavior by student groups.
“You can’t do that”
“There’s a net there”
“We can’t hear you”
The email has gone viral in recent days, as the WIAA has seen plenty of outrage from folks across the country. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas — an outspoken critic of the NCAA in the past — lambasted the WIAA via Twitter on Tuesday.
Wisconsin high school students, as you could imagine, aren’t pleased with the developments. A group of students at Ashwaubenon High School “protested” by putting duct tape over their mouths at a basketball game Tuesday night.
Luther Prep in Watertown, Wisc., did the same.
Students at both Lake Mills and Lakeside also made protests of their own.
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