Gold Medal Standards for Amateur Basketball

Amid growing concerns that men's and boys' high school and college basketball programs are not fulfilling their potential to promote education and develop character, four dozen delegates comprised of top basketball coaches, university presidents, youth sports administrators, collegiate conference commissioners and game officials drafted and issued Pursuing Victory with Honor: The Gold Medal Standards for Amateur Basketball detailing proposed far-reaching and fundamental reforms.

The document is the product of a conclave sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and CHARACTER COUNTS! Sports (a division of the Josephson Institute of Ethics) held in Kansas City, Missouri. Read about this conference here.

"This is not an academic exercise in rhetoric," said Jim Haney, executive director of the NABC. "It is a sincere and serious effort by many of the most influential people in amateur basketball to outline a realistic game plan to address some of the most serious issues facing the game, including acceptable graduation rates in college programs, on and off-court conduct and sportsmanship, preserving balanced competition in high school, officiating, conflicts of interest, commercialism and fiscal responsibility."

Gold Medal Standards Summary of Principles

PRINCIPLE 1: Articulate the Objectives of the Athletic Program

Those who govern amateur basketball programs should determine and articulate the real and true objectives of the program in the context of the institution's overall mission and the potentially competing models of sport: recreation (fun and enjoyment), education (character and life skills development), competition (determining who is best), and business (revenue and public relations).

  • Clarify the Mission of Athletic Program.
  • Hire and Retain to Advance Overall Mission.
  • Conduct Annual Performance Reviews in Relation to Mission.

PRINCIPLE 2: Promote Sportsmanship and Character Development

Amateur basketball programs should be designed to promote sportsmanship, foster good character and teach positive life skills that will help student-athletes become personally successful and socially responsible by teaching, enforcing, advocating and modeling trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship (the Six Pillars of Character).

  • Adopt Comprehensive Codes of Conduct.
  • Disseminate these Gold Medal Standards.
  • Establish and Implement a Communication and Enforcement Strategy.
  • Teacher-Coaches Should Regularly and Consistently Teach, Enforce, Advocate and Model (T.E.A.M) Good Character and Sportsmanship During Practice and in Games.

PRINCIPLE 3: Assure That the Overall Well Being of Student-Athletes Is Placed Above Winning.

Amateur basketball programs should pursue sports performance goals as well as educational, sportsmanship and character-building objectives in a manner that assures that the overall academic, social, emotional, physical and ethical well-being of student-athletes is always placed above winning.

  • Stress Primacy of Student-Athlete Well-Being.
  • Ensure That Practice and Playing Schedules Support Academic Achievement.
  • Safeguard Physical and Emotional Health of Those Involved in Sports.
  • Develop a Pursuing Victory With Honor Public Information Campaign.
  • Provide Comprehensive Academic and Emotional Support to Student-Athletes.
  • Teacher-Coaches Should Stress Academic Objectives.
  • Require Credentialing and Background Checks for Youth Coaches.
  • Regulate Nonscholastic Basketball Leagues and Tournaments.
  • Require Teacher-Coaches to Avoid Conflicts of Interest and Exploitation of Student-Athletes.
  • Prevent Unbalanced Competition and Displacement in High School Basketball.
  • Review Admission Criteria for Student-Athletes.
  • Develop Additional Measures of Graduation Rates.

PRINCIPLE 4: Assure Fair Play and the Integrity of the Game.

Players, coaches and officials should demonstrate an uncompromising commitment to protect the integrity of the game and a high regard for principles of fair play and sportsmanship.

  • Abiding by the Letter and Spirit of the Rules.
  • Prohibit and Discourage Gambling.
  • Assure Quality Officiating.
  • Consider Professionalization of Officials.

Principle 5: Avoid Excessive Commercialism and Assure Fiscal Responsibility

Assure that economic relationships between sports programs and corporate entities do not involve inappropriate exploitation of their names, unwholesome influence and undue dependence, and that athletic programs are conducted in a fiscally responsible manner.

  • Avoid Unwholesome Commercialism.
  • Practice Fiscal Responsibility in College Basketball.

Download the full Gold Medal Standards for Amateur Basketball (pdf).

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