Sixteen Principles Sixteen Principles

California Interscholastic Federation

  1. The essential elements of character building and ethics in CIF sports are embodied in the concepts of sportsmanship and six core principles: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. The highest potential of sports is achieved when competition reflects these "six pillars of character."
  2. It is the duty of school faculty, staff, administrators, parents, and school sports leadership - including coaches, athletic administrators, program directors, and game officials - to promote sportsmanship and foster good character by teaching, enforcing, advocating, and modeling these, "six pillars of character."
  3. To promote sportsmanship and foster the development of good character, school sports programs must be conducted in a manner that enhances the academic, emotional, social, physical, and ethical development of student-athletes and teaches them positive life skills that will help them become personally successful and socially responsible.
  4. Participation in school sports programs is a privilege, not a right. To earn that privilege, student-athletes must abide by the rules and they must conduct themselves, on and off the field, as positive role models who exemplify good character.
  5. School faculty, staff, administrators, parents, and school sports leadership shall establish standards for participation by adopting and enforcing codes of conduct for coaches, athletes, parents, and spectators.
  6. All participants in high school sports must consistently demonstrate and demand scrupulous integrity and observe and enforce the spirit as well as the letter of the rules.
  7. The importance of character, ethics, and sportsmanship should be emphasized in all communications directed to student-athletes and their parents.
  8. School faculty, staff, administrators, parents, and school sports leadership must ensure that the first priority of their student-athletes is a serious commitment to getting an education and developing the academic skills and character to succeed.
  9. School faculty, staff, and administrators and everyone involved at any level of governance in the CIF must maintain ultimate responsibility for the quality and integrity of CIF programs. Such individuals must assure that education and character development responsibilities are not compromised to achieve sports performance goals and that the academic, social, emotional, physical, and ethical well-being of student-athletes is always placed above desires and pressures to win.
  10. All employees of member schools must be directly involved and committed to the academic success of student-athletes and the character-building goals of the school.
  11. Everyone involved in competition, including parents, spectators, associated student body leaders, and all auxiliary groups have a duty to honor the traditions of the sport and to treat other participants with respect. Coaches have a special responsibility to model respectful behavior and the duty to demand that their student-athletes refrain from disrespectful conduct, including verbal abuse of opponents and officials, profane or belligerent trash-talking, taunting and inappropriate celebration.
  12. School faculty, staff, and administrators of CIF member schools must ensure that coaches, whether paid or voluntary, are competent to coach. Training or experience may determine minimal competence. These competencies include basic knowledge of: 1) The character building aspects of sports, including techniques and methods of teaching and reinforcing the core values comprising sportsmanship and good character; 2) The physical capabilities and limitations of the age group coached as well as first aid; 3) Coaching principles and the rules and strategies of the sport.
  13. Because of the powerful potential of sports as a vehicle for positive personal growth, a broad spectrum of school sports experiences should be made available to all of our diverse communities.
  14. To safeguard the health of athletes and integrity of the sport, school sports programs must actively prohibit the use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and performance enhancing substances, as well as demand compliance with all laws and regulations, including those related to gambling and the use of drugs.
  15. Schools that offer athletic programs must safeguard the integrity of their programs. Commercial relations should be continually monitored to ensure against inappropriate exploitation of the school's name or reputation. There should be no undue interference or influence of commercial interests. In addition, sports programs must be prudent, avoiding undue financial dependency on particular companies or sponsors.
  16. The profession of coaching is a profession of teaching. In addition to teaching the mental and physical dimensions of their sports, coaches, through words and example, must also strive to build the character of their athletes by teaching them to be trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring, and good citizens.