MPS Booster Group Guidelines: 2015 – 2016

MARKED BY PRIDE AND SPIRIT

Mercyhurst Prep endeavors to provide a QUALITY athletic program for its student athletes.  The objectives of the school and those of athletics coincide. Mercyhurst Prep believes that athletics can play an integral part in the development of characteristics needed by an individual who will make responsible choices, contribute to society, and be a total, well-rounded person.

PURPOSE OF MPS BOOSTERS

  1. Each booster group exists to encourage and promote the program or activity they have organized to support.
  2. Booster groups uphold the Mission, Vision and Belief Statements of Mercyhurst Prep. These may be viewed on the MPS website.
  3. All athletic booster groups must operate within the established guidelines of state and national organizations which govern student participation in a given activity.  Links for PIAA regulations regarding recruiting, amateur status and awards are available at mpslakers.com.  In addition, please see the Athletic Recruiting section of this packet.
  4. Booster groups will not attempt to influence the moderator’s, coach’s or school’s philosophy or decision making.
  5. Please provide a list of current booster officers to Assistant Principal Tom Rinke.

PIAA CODE OF ETHICS PERTAINING TO HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS

ATHLETIC COURTESY (from the PIAA BY-LAWS)

Section 1. Athletics should foster clean sports.  It is the privilege and duty of every person connected with athletics to exemplify these principals in that person’s own actions and earnestly advocate them before others.

  • Contest rules are to be regarded as mutual agreements, the spirit or letter of which no honorable person would break.  The stealing of advantage is theft.
  • No advantages should be sought over others except those in which the Contest is understood to show superiority.
  • Unsportsmanlike or unfair means are not to be used, even when opponents use them.
  • Visiting teams are to be honored guests of the home team and should be treated as such.
  • No action is to be taken nor course of conduct pursued which would seem unsportsmanlike or dishonorable if known to one’s opponent or the public.
  • Remember that student-spectators represent their school the same as student-athletes.
  • Any spectator who continually evidences poor sportsmanship should be requested not to attend future Contests.
  • Decisions of Contest officials are to be abided by, even when they seem unfair.
  • Contest officials and opponents are to be regarded and treated as honest in intention. In Contests when opponents conduct themselves in an unbecoming manner, and when Contest officials are manifestly dishonest or incompetent, future relationship with them should be avoided.
  • Good points in others should be recognized and suitable recognition given.
  • The practice of booing is regarded as discourteous and unsportsmanlike.

Excerpt from the PIAA CODE OF ETHICS PERTAINING TO HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS

This Code of Ethics Pertaining to High School Athletics is to be regarded not only as recommendations, but also as rules governing the conduct of schools, student-athletes, Coaches, Contest officials, Athletic Directors, Principals, and the public.

Public Should:

  • Realize that gambling on Contests, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or use of illegal drugs, anabolic steroids, and/or other performance enhancing drugs in connection with Contests are all detrimental to the best interests of athletics and the standards which PIAA is endeavoring to foster.
  • Not use profanity, obscene gestures, and/or obscene language while attending Contests.
  • Not attempt to provoke, intimidate, and/or berate Coaches, Contest Officials, student-athletes, and/or other spectators.
  • Not interfere with any Contests.

Student-Athletes Should:

  • Conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner.
  • Not use profanity, obscene gestures, and/or obscene language.
  • Not seek to provoke opponents, Contest officials, or spectators to engage in improper conduct.
  • Not seek to injure opponents.


Excerpt from the NATIONWIDE INSURANCE SPORTSMANSHIP PROGRAM
(available at www.piaa.org/assets/web/documents/Handbook)

FOR OTHER SUPPORT GROUPS (BAND, BOOSTER CLUB, ETC.):

  • Establish themselves as leaders in their conduct before, during and after Contests. Always provide positive support for your team, rather than intimidating or ridiculing the other team.
  • Assist cheerleaders with cheers, chants, etc., and be a working part of pep assemblies, with preparation, organization, and involvement.
  • Treat opposing players, coaches, spectators and support groups with respect and enthusiasm.
  • Conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. Remember, you represent your school both home and away.
  • Respect the integrity and judgment of Contest officials. Treating them with respect, even if you disagree with their judgment, will only make a positive impression of your group, your team and your community, in the eyes of all people at the event.
  • Be an exemplary role model by positively supporting teams in every manner possible, including content of cheers and signs.

FOR THE STUDENT-ATHLETE: 

  • Accept and understand the seriousness of responsibility and the privilege of representing your school and your community.
  • Live up to the standards of sportsmanship established by the school administration and the coaching staff.
  • Learn the rules of the Contest thoroughly and discuss them with parents, fans, fellow students, and elementary students. This will assist both them and you in the achievement of a better understanding and appreciation of the sport.
  • Treat opponents the way you would like to be treated, as a guest or a friend. Who better than yourselves can understand all the hard work and team effort that is required of your sport!
  • Wish opponents good luck before the Contest and congratulate them in a sincere manner with which you would like to be greeted following either victory or defeat.
  • Respect the integrity and judgment of Contest officials. The officials are doing their best to help promote you and your sport.  Treating them with respect, even if you disagree with their judgment, will only make a positive impression of you and your Team in the eyes of the officials and all people at the event.

FOR SPECTATORS:

  • Remember that you are at a Contest to support and cheer for your Team and to enjoy the skill and competition, not to intimidate or ridicule the other Team and its fans.
  • Remember that interscholastic athletics are a learning experience for students and that mistakes are sometimes made. Praise student-athletes in their attempt to improve themselves as students, as athletes, and as people as you would praise a student working in the classroom.
  • A ticket is a privilege to observe the Contest, not a license to verbally assault others.
  • Learn the rules of the Contest so that you may understand and appreciate why certain situations take place.
  • Show respect for the opposing players, coaches, spectators, and support groups. Treat them as you would treat a guest in your own home.
  • Respect the integrity and judgment of Contest officials. Understand that they are doing their best to help promote the student-athlete and admire their willingness to participate in full view of the public.
  • Recognize and show appreciation for an outstanding play by either Team.
  • Refrain from the use of any controlled substances (alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc.) before and during Contests, and afterwards on or near the site of the Contest.
  • Use only those cheers that support and uplift the Teams involved.
  • Recognize and compliment school and athletic administrators for their efforts in emphasizing the educational benefits of interscholastic athletics and the role of good sportsmanship to that end.
  • Be a positive role model through your own actions and by censuring those around you whose behavior is unbecoming.

MERCYHURST PREP SPORTSMANSHIP POLICY

All MPS employees, volunteers, student/athletes, and spectators are required to act in accordance with the charism of Mercy, that is to act with hospitality and concern for the dignity of all persons when attending athletic events.

Show RESPECT to the opposing team and APPRECIATION of their talents.

Support our team positively. CHEER FOR OUR TEAM, NOT AGAINST THE OPPOSING TEAM. Refrain from booing or any other negative display.

Show RESPECT FOR OFFICIALS AND COACHES and acceptance of their decisions.

Show CONCERN FOR INJURED PLAYERS, regardless of their team affiliation.

Be a GOOD AUDIENCE for performances by bands, cheerleaders, and other groups.  Let them know that they are welcome and that their hard work is appreciated.

Be GOOD STEWARDS of the venue at which the contest is held.  Dispose of all waste properly.

Be GRACIOUS regardless of victory or defeat.

Always represent the MARK of PRIDE and SPIRIT.

 

MERCYHURST PREP SPECTATOR GUIDELINES

Student fans and other spectators at any MPS athletic event should:

  • Maintain silence during the National Anthem
  • Applaud during the introduction of players, coaches, and officials regardless of their affiliation
  • Applaud at the end of the contest for performances by all participants
  • Treat the competition as a contest, not a war
  • Positively support our team
  • Wear clothing that, while spirited, is appropriate for a school event. All students must wear shirts.
  • Not use disrespectful or derogatory cheers, chants, songs, or gestures
  • Not use cheers that antagonize opponents or fans of the opposing team
  • Not criticize officials
  • Not use profanity, obscene gestures, and/or obscene language while attending contests
  • Not attempt to provoke, intimidate, and/or berate coaches, contest officials, student-athletes, and/or other spectators
  • Not engage in any behavior that detracts from the contest
  • Not throw any object in the stands or on the field
  • Not interfere with any contests

Any spectator who evidences poor sportsmanship and/or behavior inconsistent with the MPS mission and sportsmanship policy and guidelines may be removed from a contest venue and may be prohibited from attending future contests.  Students in violation may also incur disciplinary consequences.

ATHLETIC RECRUITING

Generally, the PIAA seeks to prohibit athletic recruiting by its member schools.  Indeed, it explicitly warns its members that any school that engages in prohibited athletic recruiting “should do so with the expectation that it will be treated harshly” by the PIAA.

However, the PIAA does recognize that certain forms of athletic recruiting, when limited in form and scope and directed at students who are already part of the member school’s public or nonpublic school system (i.e., its “feeder schools”), may be permitted without jeopardizing the values that the PIAA seeks to promote.

Section 8 of Article VI of the PIAA By-Laws deals specifically with the issue of athletic recruiting.  It sets forth a definition of “recruiting,” and follows it with 13 separate illustrations of conduct that would fit within the definition of recruiting.

The definition itself is therefore of paramount importance.  It reads:

“Recruiting which is materially motivated in some way by an athletic purpose is defined as efforts by a school, or any of its employees, agents, or representatives, to engage in, support, or condone conduct whereby a motivating factor is to seek out one or more athletes to attend a particular school; to promote a school’s athletic program or personnel other than as part of the overall program at the school; and/or, to provide preferential treatment or attention to prospective enrollees who are athletes.”

Interspersed among the 13 illustrations of prohibited forms of recruiting are descriptions of exceptions and qualifications to those prohibitions.  Consequently, the permitted and forbidden types of conduct are best summarized in tabular form on the following pages.

Prohibited Conduct Permitted Conduct
1. Placing an advertisement directed toward prospective student-athletes that touts the athletic successes of the school or its athletes, outside of the entire scope of the school. Publishing a comprehensive brochure that discusses most or all of the aspects of the school, including its interscholastic sports programs, as long as it does not “focus” on those parts of the program.
2. Providing student-athletes at another school, including a lower-level school, with free transportation or free or reduced-price admission to an athletic event. There are several exceptions to this general prohibition:

Providing free transportation or admission for students at a designated “feeder school” of the high school.

Providing these benefits to all of the students, or all of the students in the same grade, at the same school.

Providing free or reduced-price admission to all members of youth sports teams, under certain conditions: (1) Public high schools may do so only for teams based within the geographic boundaries of the school district; (2) Private high schools may do so only where the team is affiliated with that school’s sponsoring entities (e.g., the Catholic dioceses, churches and parishes that maintain or govern a Catholic high school); or where at least 50% of the team members attend a “feeder school” of that high school.

3. Using AAU or other amateur athletic coaches to steer students to a particular school. No exceptions allowed.
4. Offering, to an athlete, scholarships or financial aid that is not available to other students at the school. No exceptions allowed.
5. Encouraging the parents or other relatives of a student-athlete to influence the student to enroll at the school in order to play sports. This conduct is permitted with respect to students who attend a “feeder school” of that high school.
6. Promising playing time or a position on a team to a student. No exceptions allowed, not even for students at “feeder schools.”
7. Meeting with athletes of another school, including lower a level school, individually or as a group, to encourage them to attend a particular school. There are several exceptions:

Meetings may be held with athletes who attend the “feeder schools” of the high school.

Schools may host open houses which all potential students may attend.

School personnel may visit non-feeder schools and speak to entire classes at that school.  Note:  Athletic personnel (i.e., coaches, athletic directors or other representatives of the school’s sports programs, whether paid or volunteer) may visit non-feeder schools, along with other school personnel, as long as no part of the appearance by the athletic personnel was focused on the school’s athletic program or athletes, or on promotion of the coach’s role in the school’s sports program.

8. Providing free transportation or any other inducement to a student-athlete to take a qualifying examination of the school, or to meet with school officials. This conduct is permitted if these opportunities are provided to all students at a particular school or grade level.
9. Athletic personnel may not, directly or through another person, encourage a student-athlete to attend their school. There are two exceptions:

The student-athlete attends a “feeder school” of that high school.

This restriction does not prohibit school personnel from responding to purely student – or student family – initiated inquiries to the personnel about athletic programs at the school.  Coaches and boosters should refer such inquiries to the AD or to the director of admissions for non-feeder school students.

10. Providing any item advertising or promoting the school (e.g., shirts, jackets, pennants, caps, etc.). These items may be offered to all students in a particular school or class.
11. Athletic personnel may not attend a lower level school contest and speak to any players immediately before, after or during the game. There are three exceptions:

The players attend a “feeder school” of the high school.

The athletic personnel merely attend the game without speaking to the players.

Individual athletic personnel may speak to the players if that individual’s son or daughter is a member of the team.

12. Enrolling a student from another school who played on a team that is “affiliated with” school, but which is not directly operated by the school (e.g., an AAU, American Legion or club team).  A team is “affiliated with” the school if it is coached by the school’s athletic or non-athletic school personnel, or contains a majority of players who attend the school. No exceptions stated.

Note:  This rule is broad enough to severely restrict the coaching of non-school teams by school personnel.

13. Athletic personnel of a school may not organize, lead or participate in a sports camp, clinic or banquet in a way that promotes their own school’s athletic program. Athletic personnel may engage in these activities if they do not engage in promoting their own school’s athletic program while doing so.

District Committees are empowered to hold hearings and make findings regarding complaints of athletic recruiting.  If the school or its personnel are determined to be in violation of the Recruiting Rules, severe penalties may be levied against the school by the PIAA.  In addition, coaches may be suspended from coaching for a period of at least one year.

USE OF MPS FACILITIES

  1. The school will provide rooms for regularly scheduled booster meetings from September through June, Monday through Friday, after school hours. Arrangements for all building use should be made in advance with:

Mrs. Marcia DiTullio
Call: 814.824.2323
Email: mditullio@mpslakers.com

  1. Booster groups must secure date approval for any event held on school premises.
  2. Use of the school facilities will be subject to a premises use agreement.  Special events will require a certificate of insurance.
  3. Alcohol should not be available at any official booster function where students /children are present.
  4. Any speaker or entertainer secured for a booster event must be approved by school administration before contracts are signed.  Please contact Tom Rinke.
  5. Members of the school administration will be available to meet with the officers or executive committee members of any booster group. Requests for meetings should be made by calling:

Assistant Principal Mr. Tom Rinke
Call:  814.824.2405
Email:  trinke@mpslakers.com

FUNDRAISING

  1. Tax letters will be issued by the school only to individuals or businesses that have made a donation to the school.
  2. Donations to booster groups do not meet IRS guidelines for charitable donations unless the booster group is an established 501©3.
  3. Refer to PA small games of chance procedures.  http://www.revenue.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/small_games_of_chance/14500.
  4. Or diocesan website http://www.eriercd.org/business/chance.pdf.

PRINTED MATERIALS AND APPAREL

To comply with PIAA regulations and in order to avoid printing errors, the use of obsolete logos or the need to reprint an item, the following guidelines must be followed by all booster groups:

  1. No brochures or printed programs may go to press until they are approved by Deborah Laughlin, Principal. They should be submitted one week in advance.  All printed publications could include one current, full-page, complimentary advertisement designed by the school.
  2. All apparel with logos or slogans must be approved by Dan Perfetto before the final order is placed.  Please see MPS Identity Standards at mpslakers.com.  If the members of the team wish to wear it as part of the uniform, this must be approved by Mr. Cancilla.
  3. Booster groups may not use official school letterhead.
  4. MPS is the sole official producer of all school websites. At no time should the MPS name or its derivatives be used without the explicit permission of the school. (Ed Curtin).
  5. Creation of a Facebook page/blog affiliated with MPS athletics must not be used for recruitment purposes, per the PIAA Constitution.