BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – For the fourth time in six years, Belmont University has been named the recipient of the Ohio Valley Conference's (OVC) annual Institutional Sportsmanship Award as announced on Friday at the league's Honors Brunch.
The award goes to the conference institution selected by its peers to have best exhibited the standards of sportsmanship and ethical conduct as outlined by the OVC and NCAA.
"Without sportsmanship there are truly no meaningful victories," said Beth DeBauche, OVC Commissioner. "In receiving this prestigious honor other institutions are saying these teams and student-athletes compete with class, respect their opponents and value fair play. That is quite a compliment as those are all traits that will lead to true victories throughout the course of life."
The award, which was implemented in August 2003, is one of three accolades bestowed by the Conference to honor sportsmanship. In 1998, the league established the Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to a male or female student-athlete of junior or senior standing who best exemplifies characteristics of the late Morehead State University student-athlete and athletics director by way of significant athletics performance and good sportsmanship and citizenship.
For the past 14 years, the league has presented team-specific sportsmanship awards to programs at OVC member institutions based on the conduct of student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators and fans, and voted on by the league's coaches and student-athletes in each respective sport. In 2018-19, Belmont earned three OVC team-specific awards: women's cross country, men's basketball, and men's outdoor track and field (baseball has not be awarded yet).
This marks the 16th time the Institutional Sportsmanship Award has been bestowed and the fourth time the Belmont has won the award (the others were 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16).
In 1995, the Ohio Valley Conference implemented a first-of-its-kind "Sportsmanship Statement," a policy promoting principles of fair play, ethical conduct and respect for one's opponent. The statement answered the challenge.