UTD intramural sports created a new sportsmanship system to incentivize players to be on their best behavior. The scoring method treats both undefeated and teams without any wins equally.
All participants in competitive intramural sports are awarded a sportsmanship score from zero to four, based on how they behave in each game. If teams average lower than a three during the regular season or score below a three in a playoff game then they are eliminated from playoffs.
Referees assign separate scores to each team at the conclusion of games.
“You start with a three. … If you show some sort of behavior that exceeds the expectation … things that go above and beyond to show excellent character earn you a four,” said Chris Gormley, the assistant director of competitive sports and head of UTD’s intramural sports programs. “If you receive technical fouls, if you receive yellow cards, if you are constantly yelling at, berating the referees, even if it does not rise to the level of a technical foul, these things constitute getting you a two. Any physical altercation, fight, ejection, suspension, those would result in a one or a zero.”
This system serves as both a motivator and deterrent. It encourages players to monitor their behavior or risk missing the playoffs, while also forcing them to conduct themselves better in the event that they do score below a three, said Derek Tallent, a supervisor for intramural competition and political science junior.
“If they get a two or a one that generally means they went down for some reason. We write down exactly why they got that score and tell them why that got that score and that way they can correct their behavior. It also incentivizes them too because they have to have a three average to get into the playoffs,” Tallent said.
The purpose of the system is perhaps best summarized as a way to hold players answerable for their actions.
“Sportsmanship scores were implemented … as a check to give player and team accountability to their own behavior,” Gormley said.
For freshman mechanical engineering freshman Jaachi Emeruwa, though, the system should be less subjective.
“It might be better to have something that you can count, like if you count the number of technical fouls, or just total fouls. There should just be some reason explained to us as to why we got our score,” he said.
Emeruwa’s team was disqualified from basketball intramural playoffs by the sportsmanship score system despite an undefeated regular season campaign.
Making any change, however, would require that checks remain in place to promote sportsmanship.
“It’s very important to me that change comes with still solving the problem that we have with sportsmanship,” Gormley said.