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Evaluation of the Spectator's Code of Ethics

by Rick Bemm

(Editors Note: The March/April issue carried the original article on the Spectators Code of Ethics, which is a propram for controling spectators and/or parents watching various park district sports programs. The code of ethics was developed by the Dundee Twp. Park District and distributed to all attendees at the boys basketball game. Since many of our readers were interested in the community's reaction to a spectators code of ethics, the author was asked to evaluate and write a follow-up article. For actual copies of the code, see March/April issue or contact Rick Bemm, Recreation Director, 21 N. Washington St., Carpentersville, IL 60010.)

In order to properly evaluate the effects of the spectators code of ethics, a questionnaire was developed and distributed to all spectators at several mid-season games.

As the spectators left the games, the questionnaires were collected. There was a return of 55 out of 60 that were distributed. Although an attempt was made to also get verbal input, this was not successful as most of the parents and spectators gave only yes or no answers.

The questionnaire showed the following results:

1. 45 parents read the code; 2 skimmed it and only 2 did not read it.

2. About half of those attending last year's games felt that there were problems the previous year with the spectators.

3. 48 parents responding felt that this year's spectators demonstrated good self control.

4. The code for spectators helped several of the respondents better understand the philosophy of the program.

5. All felt that the code was appropriate.

Additional comments included establishing a code for coaches and for little league. Many of the parents agreed that adults need to be reminded occasionally that the emphasis of the program should be on the recreational value and not the competitive aspect.

Our overall reaction was very favorable toward maintaining use of the Code for other programs. The survey results support the fact that it was well received and certainly resulted in improved spectator conduct or continued self control. Due to the reaction of some parents, they will also be developing a more extensive guide for the conduct of coaches.

Illinois Parks and Recreation 16 July/August, 1976

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