Events Mark National Sportsmanship Day

Jan 14, 2009

Ask Jack O’Malley, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and chair of the steering committee of The University of Scranton’s Bochicchio Sport Character Initiative, how he defines sportsmanship and he’ll tell you that it’s “a blend of cooperation and competition.”

This model of sportsmanship and sports education will be celebrated at events on Jan.25 and again on March 3, as The University of Scranton participates in the 19th annual National Sportsmanship Day.  Sponsored by the Institute for International Sport, National Sportsmanship Day is the largest sportsmanship initiative in the world. An estimated 14,000 universities and schools throughout the United States and abroad will participate in this year’s events.

According to Dr. O’Malley, these events are part of the University’s ongoing initiative to promote sportsmanship not only in its own sports education classes and athletic programs, but throughout the community. The celebration honors the memory of the late Joe Bochicchio, a Scranton coach who has inspired much of the University’s work to promote sportsmanship.

“It’s all about developing a continuum of sportsmanship in youth sports,” Dr. O’Malley says of the program.

On Jan 25, regional school children and their parents are invited to attend a men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader at the University’s Long Center. The opponent is Drew University, with the women’s game starting at 2 p.m. and the men’s game at 4 p.m. Children under 18 will be admitted free of charge as part of the University’s Sportsmanship Day. The event will include a short program on the importance of sportsmanship and the distribution of “Honor the Game” souvenirs to the children.

On March 3, the official celebration of National Sportsmanship Day, The University of Scranton will host a lecture and workshop by Matt Davidson, Ph.D., a 1993 graduate of The University of Scranton and founder, president and director of education for the Institute for Excellence and Ethics. In his lecture, “Work Hard, Do Your Best, Do the Right Thing,” Dr. Davidson will discuss how to win with integrity in a “cheating culture.” The lecture and workshop are sponsored by the Athletics Department of Scranton.

“Character is power,” says Dr. Davidson. “It’s the catalyst that maximizes your talent potential; it is what initiates and sustains winning streaks, and its absence perpetuates losing streaks. When it comes to cheating, character isn’t the problem: it’s the solution.”

The lecture will be held from 7 to 8:15 p.m. in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall, and is open to the public free of charge.

Dr. Davidson will also offer a workshop for area school teachers entitled “Developing Character for and from Sport: Best Practices.” During the workshop, Dr. Davidson will discuss best practices for developing positive character from and for sport. He will discuss concrete strategies to help coaches proactively shape a powerful team culture dedicated to excellence and ethics. The workshop is open to the public and is particularly relevant for teachers, coaches, and administrators. It will be held in The Rose Room of Brennan Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. A follow-up roundtable discussion and sharing of ideas and strategies for implementation, led by Dr. Davidson, will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in The Rose Room of Brennan Hall. The workshop and roundtable discussion are free of charge. Pre-registration is required to attend. The registration deadline is Friday, Feb. 27, and can be done by calling Erin Maguire at (570) 941-7440.

Dr. Davidson has dedicated nearly 15 years to character education research, program development and dissemination. Prior to joining the Institute for Excellence & Ethics, he was the Research Director at the Center for the 4th & 5th Rs, at the State University of New York College at Cortland. He has been on staff at the Family Life Development Center at Cornell University and the Values Program at LeMoyne College, and the Mendelson Center for Sport, Character, and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, where he was also an Adjunct Professor of Education.

His publications include Smart & Good High Schools: Integrating Excellence and Ethics for Success in School, Work, and Beyond, which he co-authored with Dr. Thomas Lickona. His current work with IEE, underwritten in part by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, is focused on the development and dissemination of research-based tools for developing character and culture in school, work, and home.

Also on March 3, University of Scranton students will visit with elementary school students in the Scranton School District to engage them in discussion and activities about the elements of sportsmanship.

For additional information about The University of Scranton’s National Sportsmanship Day celebrations, contact Erin Maguire at (570) 941-7440, or, or Jack O’Malley, Ph.D., at (570) 941-4269, or

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