The CTSA Awards Dinner honored outstanding athletes and individuals who promote the values of sportsmanship, ethical play in athletic competition, citizenship and community service. Each year the alliance presents awards to honorees from each of its 12 member organizations: Major League Baseball, the NFL, NHL, NBA, WNBA, NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), National Federation of State High School Associations, National Association for Sport and Physical Education and United States Olympic Committee.
Selig and Dr. Tim Van Alstine were instrumental in helping the Gateway Football Conference institute a full-team, pregame handshake before all conference games. The athletic directors’ football teams — Van Alstine is at Western Illinois — were involved in one of the ugliest brawls in the conference’s history in 2002 following an NCAA Division I-AA playoff game. Before the teams met the next season, the two teams shook hands before the game to show good sportsmanship. The idea proved to be an overwhelming success with the teams and fans. It was also well received by the league presidents, and in 2004, the Gateway became the first NCAA conference to implement a pregame handshake before all league contests.
“It was an honor to be recognized for helping to establish high sportsmanship standards via the initiation of our Gateway Football Conference pregame team handshake at midfield,” said Selig. “The coverage of this activity has been overwhelming and certainly served the GFC, WIU and WKU well.
“As athletic administrators, one of our greatest responsibilities and challenges is to teach valuable lessons to our participants and spectators through healthy competition while positioning our student-athletes and coaches to serve as role models to so many constituents, especially today’s youth.”
Other individuals recognized at Saturday’s dinner included P.J. Brown of the New Orleans Hornets, Olympic gold medalist Paul Hamm, the St. Louis Rams’ Torry Holt, former Major Leaguer Edgar Martinez and Doug Weight of the St. Louis Blues.
“Sportsmanship Weekend” also included “Good Sports Nite,” where more than 200 youngsters from the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club attended a program about the role of parents in athletics as well as a Coaches Symposium the morning of the awards dinner.
“The collection of individuals who are past award winners reads like a ‘who’s who’ of sport — Vince Dooley, Curt Schilling, Michelle Kwan, Bob Lanier, Dawn Staley and Jackie Joyner-Kersee,” Selig added. “To be listed in the future with these fellow award winners will no doubt be a professional highlight.
“It was an evening and experience I will savor forever.”