New Program Seeks to Promote Positive Fan Behavior

The University has instituted a new game day environment and sportsmanship program at its athletic events this year called Husky Honor.

The intent of the program is to promote good sportsmanship and fan behavior at all UConn athletic events.

<p>Fans at a football game at Rentschler Stadium. Photo by Peter Morenus</p>

Fans at a football game at Rentschler Stadium. Photo by Peter Morenus

“Promoting good sportsmanship and mutual respect among participants and spectactors alike is one of the most pressing issues in college athletics, and the sports industry as a whole,” says Jeffrey Hathaway, director of athletics. “The Husky Honor program provides a beneficial vehicle through which we can encourage positive actions. We have the very best fans and we want them to give UConn a home field advantage with class and dignity, using positive and spirited energy.”

The mission of the program states that “The University of Connecticut is committed to honoring collegiate athletic competition by demonstrating pride, responsibility, and respect. The UConn community, fans, alumni, students, coaches, and student-athletes promote these core values as proud Huskies and first class competitors.”

The principles of Husky Honor include:

Pride – wear blue and white; take your seat early and stay until the end of the game so you can cheer your team on; have fun and cheer loudly for the Huskies;

Responsibility – refrain from the use of profanity; dispose of trash, recycle, and keep the facility clean; socialize responsibly; and

Respect – respect all coaches, student-athletes, and game officials; respect yourself and your fellow fans, whether they are cheering for UConn or not; respect the University of Connecticut.

“Husky Honor” will use a number of informational tools to reinforce the ideals of good sportsmanship, positive behavior, and maintaining a safe environment at games. These include: fan guides distributed to all football and basketball season ticket holders; recorded messages from coaches and student-athletes at Husky athletic events; and information on the official Division of Athletics website in addition to the Rentschler Field and XL Center websites.

“We have a wide range of fans who attend our athletic events, including families with young children, UConn students, and many other Husky supporters,” says Hathaway. “We want each and every one of them to have a welcoming experience at our athletic events. Husky Honor encourages cooperation and participation, and all of us can help create the best possible game day atmosphere through this worthwhile program.”

UConn also instituted a confidential fan hotline and texting system at football games at Rentschler Field last year and at men’s and women’s basketball games at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center. The phone number at Rentschler Field is (860) 610-4884, while texts can be sent to (860) 861-8100. The phone number at the XL Center is (860) 241-2220, while texts can be sent to (860) 402-7644. At Gampel Pavilion, voice and texts can be sent to (860) 543-1961.

This system was designed for fans to report anonymously any behavior that impairs or otherwise interrupts the enjoyment of a UConn contest and will continue to be in place this year. These reports result in an immediate response from facility management staff.

The Husky Honor program is a joint venture of several units of the University including the Division of Athletics, the President’s Office, the Division of Student Affairs, the Alumni Association, the Undergraduate Student Government, the Office of Environmental Policy, and the Division of Public and Environmental Safety, which includes the UConn Police Department. The management teams of Rentschler Field and the XL Center are also participating in this initiative.

The NCAA instituted its own sportsmanship program in January 2009 called “RESPECT,” and sportsmanship has also been a top priority of the Big East Conference. The “Husky Honor” program will operate within the philosophies of both the NCAA and the Big East Conference, which involve building a culture of respect on college campuses around the country, and within the conference, by using various messaging tools and by having campus leaders serve as positive role models.