INDIANAPOLIS, IN (September 1, 2022) — One of the longest-running and most utilized online education courses in the NFHS Learning Center has been updated with an urgent call for better behavior and conduct by everyone at high school games and contests.
The free “Sportsmanship” course, which debuted on the NFHS Learning Center in 2011, has been delivered to more than 920,000 individuals in the past 11 years, and is among the top five most popular courses offered through the NFHS’ online education center.
With sportsmanship being one of most important outcomes of involvement in education-based activity programs, perhaps appropriately, students have taken more than 70 percent of the “Sportsmanship” courses in the past. Given the decline in behavior by other groups at high school games, the updated “Sportsmanship” course reiterates the critical importance of positive behaviors by everyone – parents, coaches, students, officials and others.
In the opening of the updated course, Dr. Karissa Niehoff, CEO of the NFHS, addresses the behavior of parents and other fans at high school games and its effect on the state of officiating around the country.
“Parents and other fans must come to school events to cheer for their school’s players, not against the officials or opponents,” Niehoff said. “We all have the opportunity to change this negative and dangerous culture of spectator behavior. It starts with each of us, no matter our role – coach, student, administrator, official, fan or parent. We all must commit to treating one another with dignity and respect.”
The revised “Sportsmanship
” course provides an understanding of what good sportsmanship looks and sounds like, clearly defines everyone’s roles during interscholastic events and reaffirms a commitment to maintaining those roles for the betterment of the students and activities involved. The revised course also features interviews with students, parents, coaches, administrators and officials about sportsmanship.
“Nothing is more important to education-based activity programs than sportsmanship,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services. “With the growing concerns about how bad behavior is affecting recruiting and retention of officials, we felt this course needed to be updated to include some strong messaging in this regard.”
After starting with two courses – “Fundamentals of Coaching
” and “First Aid, Health and Safety
” – in 2007 through the former NFHS Coach Education Program, the NFHS Learning Center now offers 88 online courses – 68 of which are free – at www.NFHSLearn.com
Amazingly, more than 17 million courses have been taken since the inception of the program, including 700,000 in August, an all-time record for one month. More than 6.6 million “Concussion in Sports” courses have been delivered, and just over one million “Concussion for Students” courses have been taken.
Courses are now available to students, coaches, parents, administrators, officials and performing arts/educators.