Photo by Keith Warren

MHSAA Sportsmanship Policy: Honor The Game

Guidelines For Game Administrators

There continues to be acts of unsportsmanlike behavior across the country. In Mississippi, the number of ejections remains at an unacceptable level annually.

The MHSAA believes we can and must do better.

Education-based athletics is an extension of the classroom. It is difficult to learn the lessons expected through high school athletics in an environment lacking good behavior, sportsmanship, and respect for all.  That is why the MHSAA is once again ramping up its efforts to promote good sportsmanship at our member schools through the “Honor the Game” campaign.

To promote this effort, the MHSAA will promote the campaign through MHSAA social media platforms using the hashtag #HonorTheGame. Each social media platform will highlight individuals, schools, and related groups who lead by example in sportsmanship throughout the year.

MHSAA Sportsmanship Expectations

The MHSAA expects student-athletes, coaches, and game officials to conduct themselves respectfully and courteously. Disrespectful behavior in the playing area or the sidelines can result in an ejection. As has been the case in the past, profanity directed at players or officials is a penalty and an ejection as well.

The MHSAA has empowered officials to step up their enforcement surrounding bad behavior and language. They have also requested coaches’ help in getting the message about behavioral expectations to their assistant coaches, players, and fans.

Coaches and administrators are expected to role model excellence in their behavior on the sidelines. There will be a continued strong emphasis on positive behavior models and professional conduct between coaches and game officials. There will be procedures for questioning an official’s call and stiffer penalties if those procedures are not followed in most sports.

The above provisions have always been MHSAA rules. By spotlighting these rules, coaches, officials, players, and fans are educated about the bad behavior and poor sportsmanship in and around the playing arena. It is also to inform all interested parties that sportsmanship and decorum issues will be dealt with stringently. The MHSAA continues to empower and charge game officials to enforce these rules strictly.

We know that if all players, coaches, officials, and fans work together towards a common goal of exhibiting good sportsmanship respectfully, we can definitely impact the lives of student-athletes.

Honor the Game!

All-Sports Protocol

  • Zero Tolerance for inappropriate language/profanity
  • Zero Tolerance for assistant coaches contesting calls

Baseball & Softball Player/Coach Protocol

Inappropriate language/profanity – Automatic ejection

Assistant coaches contesting calls – Automatic ejection

If an assistant coach is on the field (coaching bases) and contests a call – automatic ejection

If an assistant coach is in the dugout contesting a call- Restricted to the dugout.

No coach may come onto the field or the home plate area to contest a call.

If they come onto the field of play (between the foul lines) or immediately towards home plate – automatic ejection

The head coach may come to the respective foul line in front of their dugout, midway between home plate and first/third base, to confer with the crew chief and base umpire (if necessary to explain the call) to make an appeal/protest.

 

Head Coach Appeal:

This appeal/request must be made professionally.

When a ruling is given, the appealing coach must return to the dugout.

If the call is overturned, the opposing coach may come out to the foul line in front of their respective dugout for an explanation without penalty.

 

Head Coach Appeal Consequences:

If the appealing head coach questions the call or is unsporting in his/her conference, a warning will be given.  This is to be recorded by the crew chief.

If the conversation/action of the appealing coach warrants, restriction to the dugout or/ejection will be given. This is to be recorded by the crew chief.

If the conversation/action of the appealing coach warrants, an immediate ejection can occur.  The 3-tier system of warn/restrict/eject is not mandatory.

Any player displaying verbal or physical dissent to an umpire

1st offense – ejection from the contest

 

Baseball/Softball Coaches protocol to discuss play with umpires:

Coaches walk out of their dugout and approach the respective foul line in front of their dugout, halfway between home plate and first/third base.

Do not cross the baseline onto the field – automatic ejection.  Remain in foul territory.

Umpires will come to the foul line, in fair territory, socially distancing to communicate with the coach.

Only the Head Coach can request this meeting with the umpires.

If the Head Coach goes directly to home plate – automatic ejection.

If the Base Coach enters the field – automatic ejection.

Upon completion of the discussion between the Head Coach and umpires, Head Coach immediately returns to his/her position/dugout.

 

Basketball Player/Coach Protocol

Inappropriate language/profanity – Automatic Technical Foul/immediate ejection.

Technical foul – loss of coaching box

Fines must be paid before returning to coaching duties.

Assistant coaches contesting calls – Automatic Technical Foul

If Indirect technical foul to Head Coach – loss of Coaching Box

Any physical or verbal display in a negative/demonstrative manner

Technical foul – loss of coaching box

Counts as 1 of 2 towards disqualification

If by a player – automatic technical foul

It counts as 1 of 5 personal fouls and a team foul

Any physical or verbal display in a negative/demonstrative manner by a school administrator

Stop the game and warn

2nd offense – Game suspended until administrator leaves the area

 

Football Player/Coach Protocol

Inappropriate language/profanity – Automatic ejection

Unsporting foul on the team bench – charged to the Head Coach

Immediate ejection

Fines must be paid before returning to coaching duties

Assistant coaches contesting calls – Automatic Unsportsmanlike Penalty (15-yard)

Unsporting foul on the team bench – charged to the Head Coach

1 of 2 unsporting fouls charged to the Head Coach

On 2nd offense, Head Coach is ejected

Any coach/player coming onto the playing field to contest a call

Automatic unsporting foul charged to coach/player

Any player displaying verbal or physical dissent to an official

Unsporting 15-yard penalty

1 of 2 allowed for a game disqualification

Any physical or verbal display in a negative/demonstrative manner by a school administrator

Stop the game and warn

2nd offense – Game suspended until administrator leaves the area

 

Soccer Player/Coach Protocol

Inappropriate language/profanity – Automatic Unsportsmanlike – Yellow Card issued

Unsporting foul on the team bench – charged to the Head Coach

Fines must be paid before returning to coaching duties

Assistant coaches contesting calls – Automatic Yellow Card

Unsporting foul on the team bench – Yellow Card issued charged to the Head Coach

1 of 2 unsporting fouls charged to Head Coach

On 2nd offense, Head Coach is ejected – Red Card issued

Any player displaying verbal or physical dissent to an official

Immediate Yellow Card issued

1 of 2 allowed for match disqualification

Any physical or verbal display in a negative/demonstrative manner by a school administrator

Stop the game and warn

2nd offense – Game suspended until administrator leaves the area

 

Volleyball Player/Coach Protocol

Inappropriate language/profanity – Automatic Unsportsmanlike

Unsporting foul on the team bench – charged to the Head Coach

Head Coach loses their right to stand and must remain seated for the remainder of the match

Immediate ejection

Assistant coaches contesting calls

Unsporting foul on the team bench – charged to the Head Coach

Administrative Yellow Card issued

1 of 2 unsporting fouls charged to Head Coach

On 2nd offense, Head Coach is ejected – Unsporting Red Card shown apart. A red card is a penalty point.

Any player displaying verbal or physical misconduct to an official

Yellow Card Issued

On 2nd offense – Player issued Red Card and Disqualified

This includes any demonstration made towards the opponent after points scored – considered taunting.  Keep between points/game celebrations contained to their own team

Any physical or verbal display in a negative/demonstrative manner by a school administrator

Stop the game and warn

2nd offense – Game suspended until administrator leaves the area

 

Swim, Track/Field, Bowling, Powerlifting, Archery, Golf, Cheer/Dance, Tennis Player/Coach Protocol

Inappropriate language/profanity – Automatic ejection

Unsporting foul on the team bench – charged to the Head Coach

Immediate ejection

Fines must be paid before returning to coaching duties

Assistant coaches contesting calls – Automatic Ejection

Unsporting foul on the team bench – charged to the Head Coach

1 of 2 unsporting fouls charged to the Head Coach

On 2nd offense, Head Coach is ejected

Any coach/player coming onto the playing field to contest a call

Automatic unsporting foul charged to coach/player

Any player displaying verbal or physical dissent to an official

Ejection

1 of 2 allowed for a game disqualification

Any physical or verbal display in a negative/demonstrative manner by a school administrator

Stop the game and warn

2nd offense – Game suspended until administrator leaves the area

 

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