Every third Thursday of each month, Idaho Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Spear will post a new blog entry directed towards Vandal fans. Dr. Spear will use these monthly communiqués to set the record straight and talk to you – Vandal to Vandal..
An archive of previous blog entries can be accessed here.
Two weeks ago, our football team traveled to Lincoln, Neb., to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers. More than 800 Vandal fans also made the trip. Although the outcome of the game did not produce the victory we expected, the experience of attending a Nebraska game did not disappoint. It was a great experience for our student-athletes, department staff and alumni who witnessed first-hand the courtesy displayed by Nebraska fans. Without a doubt the Nebraska fans were the most gracious hosts that I have ever experienced. Starting with our arrival at the game with approximately 500 Nebraska fans clapping for our team as we entered the stadium, to the playing of our fight song by the Nebraska marching band, to the multitude of Nebraska fans who thanked us for traveling to the game, the experience showcased what true sportsmanship is all about. Our experience was not the exception but rather the rule when competing at Nebraska.
In recent years the NCAA and all conferences have placed an emphasis on sportsmanship. Specifically the NCAA has sponsored a campaign titled "RESPECT. It's the name of the game." The primary focus of this campaign is to create a culture of respect on college campuses. It is the expectation of the NCAA, that campuses and conferences will dedicate energy and resources toward this campaign. The end result is the NCAA hopes sportsmanship becomes one the top five focal points for colleges and institutions.
This campaign has an external focus (fan behavior) and an internal focus (culture and respect through coaches and student-athletes). Our approach to the external focus has been to show a sportsmanship video before every home game. The video is sponsored by the Western Athletic Conference and emphasizes the importance of good sportsmanship and fan behavior. Internally, our coaches and student-athletes are expected to promote good sportsmanship and show respect while representing the University of Idaho in their particular sports.
As we approach our conference football season, I thought it would be good to share with you the importance of sportsmanship and the opportunity we have to become one the elite institutions in the country as it relates to sportsmanship. GO VANDALS!