Playing with class and sportsmanship is the most important aspect of college sports.
That statement is especially true for the Lipscomb men’s soccer program. This past Sunday the team was honored by the NCAA with a “special recognition” of sportsmanship.
“It is a prestigious award,” said head coach Charles Morrow. “It means a lot to be recognized nationally for what you do.”
A plaque was presented to the team before their game against USC Upstate on Sunday afternoon. Local media from around the area were present to watch the Bisons take pictures around the plaque.
John Blanchard, senior associate athletics director at the University of North Carolina, presented the award as a representative of the NCAA.
“What you did in your show of compassion towards the Bradley soccer team transcended the sport and addressed their humanity,” said Blanchard as he presented the award. “You have touched their lives and made a lasting impression on all who have of heard of what you did including those of us on the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct.
“I know that you did not necessarily want publicity for this action, but there is a ‘need to know’ here. All of us involved in intercollegiate athletics, our fans, and even our detractors, need to know of your extraordinary act of sensitivity and compassion.
“And we need to know that there are young men who are superior athletes and intense competitors who are also kind and caring and who demonstrate their faith and values in their daily lives as student athletes.”
Last season the Bisons soccer team opened up the year by playing Bradley University. Just weeks before the game Bradley had suffered a horrible loss when one of their players, Danny Dahlquist, was tragically killed in a fire.
The game took place on Aug. 31, 2007. Before the announcement of the starting lineups, the Lipscomb players presented Bradley’s team with a Lipscomb soccer jersey that had the name Dahlquist on the back along with his number “29”. The jersey was autographed by each Lipscomb player.
Bradley went on to win the game 2-1, but that was not what people came away remembering that day. The incredible class and sympathy shown toward a hurting team by the Lipscomb coaches and players made an impact on everyone who was at the game.
The Bisons were not looking to receive any sort of special recognition for what they did. They just felt that it was a respectful gesture. However, the NCAA saw fit to recognize Lipscomb for their honorable actions.
The award reflects not only this one event, but also the overall good sportsmanship that the team has shown over the last year.
This is Lipscomb’s first NCAA sportsmanship award in any sport.
“We talk about class and sportsmanship on a daily basis,” said Morrow. “I’m very proud of our guys and the way they conduct themselves.”
Among all of the awards and championship trophies a University can receive, the NCAA Sportsmanship award is among the highest of honors.
This story was written by Benjamin Seamon, a student assistant in the athletics media relations department.