Q&A: Principal Scott Bacon answers questions about Rule 52, appropriate ways to cheer at athletic events

Three+seniors+enjoy+the+football+game+on+Nov.+9.+Photo+by+Katie+Overman

Three seniors enjoy the football game on Nov. 9. Photo by Katie Overman

Raine Andrews, Photo Editor

Being a former coach, what do you expect from the fans?
“I would like to see positive excitement, as coach and administrator. I like to see students positively encouraging our players. I think our players attend to feed off that, especially when it is positive.”As the host team, what is the school’s responsibility towards the visiting team?
“If somebody is injured or somebody makes a mistake, calling out negative chants that emphasize the mistakes made is not appropriate by rule 52. When another team has a penalty, we sometimes chant, ‘You can’t do that.’ You know, I can live with that. When we go to, ‘You let the whole team down,’ then we are probably crossing the line, so we cut that off pretty quick.
I thought during football season, and volleyball season, what I observed was really pretty good. We didn’t have that real often at all. We want people leaving a loser, but we also want them leaving feeling like they were treated respectfully. Then we have won in more ways than one.”What is rule #52 and why was it made?
“We need to comply with rule 52, which is the Kansas State High School Activity Association [KSHSAA] rule that deals with sportsmanship.There are some examples of what we can do and shouldn’t do. Anything that is demeaning or disrespectful towards the other team, or towards visitors from the other team, is something we definitely want to stay away from and try to avoid. [This includes situations that involve] calling out players by name or by numbers on the other team saying demeaning things about them.”What do you consider appropriate and inappropriate?
“The other thing that really sticks out is when anybody in the crowd, whether students or adults, use profanity — and you can’t do that. That is just not classy. Screaming and yelling at officials [is also unacceptble].
An example coming up in basketball — the air ball chant — is something that frequently happens, and I get it, so we try to cut it off after three. Somebody may launch an airball, [but] every time that kid gets the ball we shouldn’t be yelling air ball. I know we have been other places and they have done that: when that kids gets the ball, the chant comes out. Cheer for our guys — leave that kid alone.
I think sometimes students feel like they can get in the heads of other players. Sometimes it backfires. So if we could keep it positive directed toward our kids that is what we are really looking for.”

If things get out of hand, and a fan continues to chant inappropriate cheers, what measures do officials take?
“Typically we would ask you to leave. I don’t want to make it bigger than it needs to be, but if it is a student then we will probably sit down later, after the game, and have a conversation about what is okay and what’s not okay. If we say it is not okay, we need you to respect that.”

Have BV fans ever broken rule #52?
“There have been a few occasions where things have happened that wound up being pretty embarrassing, and what frustrates me is i have to do all of the apologizing. We had a situation like that a couple years ago and it wasn’t just me, but the president of our student council had to apologize on behalf of our students too.
We don’t want to ever be in those situations where we are having to apologize for our behavior or actions. If we keep [the cheers] positive and directed towards our guys/gals than those situations will be minimal if any at all.”

What do you do to control the type of cheers the fans come up with?
“We need to make sure it is respectful, so we sit down with a lot of seniors who tend to populate the front row of the basketball games and just kind of review what is okay and what is not okay. The last thing I want for anybody is for me or another administrator and student to have a confrontation in front of everybody — that typically won’t go well.
I never want to embarrass anybody publicly, you know. If somebody isn’t doing what they should be doing, they will get a look. That is what we talked to those senior leaders about. I am not going to sit in front of you and babysit you, you don’t want that, I don’t want to do that.
Typically [Athletic Director Matt Ortman] will be down at one end of the gym and I will be at the other end of the gym. [School Resource Officers Ken Braden] or [Dennis] Randall is hanging around the student section. If we are going a direction we shouldn’t be going, I am going to give you a look and you will know. My expectation is that it stops right then and there. Hopefully I don’t have to give you the look at all.