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Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

No ridiculing allowed

By William Kincaid

Fans at a recent Celina basketball game adhere to a new Western Buckeye League p. . .

Booing at a referee's bad call or chanting "airball" will no longer be allowed at some area high school basketball games.
School officials in the Western Buckeye League (WBL) will be enforcing a new policy this year that prevents students from participating in any derogatory or obscene chants, according to William Hannah, the Ottawa-Glandorf High School principal and WBL chairman of the sportsmanship policy.
Celina High School officials wrote in the student morning announcements that the following cheers are no longer acceptable: the B.S.(bullshit) cheer; airball; go start the bus; na-na-na-na goodbye; sit down and shut up; booing; scoreboard; I'm blind, I'm deaf, I wanna be a ref; elevator, elevator; and nuts and bolts.
The WBL informally banned the selected cheers two years ago, but Hannah said the policy was not written down until this year.
Some may ask what is wrong with booing or chanting airball?
"What's the student group there for? They're there to support our kids .... to make them feel good, not to ridicule," Hannah said. "Why bring undue attention (on the opponent who missed a shot)? The student athlete didn't do it on purpose. High school athletes are always going to make mistakes."
As part of the sportsmanship guide, Hannah said students also are prohibited from displaying derogatory signs or using noisemakers.
Hannah said enforcement of the new policy will be up to the administrations of each school. Hannah said at his school he simply gets after the students and does not intend to kick them out of the games.
He also pointed out the new ban is not just limited to the selected cheers. Any cheer that is deemed inappropriate will be enforced, he said.
Hannah said the WBL encourages adults to adhere to the same guidelines.
"We want them to be sportsmanlike," he said. "If it gets too bad, we get them escorted out."
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Otis, better known as Dr. Jim, plans to retire at the end of the year, capping a career that spans 66 years. [More]
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