By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information and OVC Media Relations
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the fourth straight year, the Tennessee Tech football team is coming home with the Ohio Valley Conference's Team Sportsmanship Award for football.
The award is voted on by the conference's student-athletes and coaches, bestowed upon the teams deemed to have best exhibited the standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior as outlined by the OVC and the NCAA. Included in the areas for evaluation are the conduct of student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators and fans.
"It is always an honor when our football program and players are noticed and receive recognition that is voted on by our fellow competitors," said Tech head coach Dewayne Alexander. "Football is a great teacher of life's lessons and I believe strongly in its role as part of the educational process. On behalf of our team, staff and support staff, we are very appreciative of this recognition from the OVC office and our fellow OVC institutions."
Tech football has been continuously lauded for doing things the right way and the OVC Team Sportsmanship Award is evidence of that.
"We are certainly thrilled to bring home another Ohio Valley Conference Team Sportsmanship Award for football," said Tech Director of Athletics Mark Wilson. "Dewayne has done a tremendous job with our young men training them to not only be exceptional student-athletes, but quality men once they finish their careers here.
"Our football student-athletes are visible in the community in outreach efforts, they are excellent students and, with the Golden Eagle Way culture, have built a solid foundation for years to come."
This is the 17th season the OVC has awarded the Team Sportsmanship Awards. It is the fifth overall and fourth consecutive for the Golden Eagle football team, joining 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2020. It is the second for Tech thus far of the five awarded in the 2021-22 academic season, following women's soccer earlier this month. SIUE has won the other three awarded in men's and women's cross country and volleyball.
"Without sportsmanship, there are truly no meaningful victories," said OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche. "The recipients of the OVC Team Sportsmanship Awards should accept this award with great pride for their fellow competitors have made it clear their teams exemplify the best in intercollegiate athletics. In receiving this prestigious honor, other competitors are saying these student-athletes compete with class, respect their opponents and value fair play. That is quite a compliment as those are all traits that will lead to true victories throughout the course of life."
A lot of pieces are there to show why the Golden Eagles value the sanctity of rules and fair play. University president Dr. Phil Oldham currently serves on the NCAA Board of Governors, head coach Dewayne Alexander is on the NCAA's Committee for Ethical Conduct and Sportsmanship and junior linebacker Seth Carlisle is a member of the OVC's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as well as the Student-Athlete Connection Group on the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee.
Implemented in August 2005, the team honors are the most recent addition to the OVC awards program, recognizing and celebrating sportsmanship within the conference. In 1998, the OVC established the Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to a male or female student-athlete of junior or senior status who best exemplifies the characteristics of the late Morehead State student-athlete, coach and administrator. Former Golden Eagle football and men's basketball player Jamaal Thompson was the 2020-21 recipient of the award.
In 2010, the conference added the OVC Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to the member institution selected by its peers to have best exhibited the standards of sportsmanship and ethical behavior as outlined by the OVC and NCAA.
In 1995, the OVC implanted a first-of-its-kind "Sportsmanship Statement," a policy promoting principles of fair play, ethical conduct and respect for one's opponent. The statement answered the challenge of the NCAA Presidents Commission to improve sportsmanship in collegiate athletics and has become a model for others to follow across the nation.
Photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information