AHCA Code of Conduct
While those who consider themselves part of the hockey community embrace The Game, hockey is a minority sport, particularly college hockey within the world of college athletics. This increases the importance of a sense of community among those who play, coach, work, and follow college hockey.
To establish and maintain a sense of community, we can not ignore the way the game itself is played. The stability of our hockey community is based on how everyone within the community carries out his or her responsibilities related to The Game.
Our Code of Conduct is primarily directed to the coaches in whose hands the welfare of The Game is placed. In addition to the Coaches' Code of Conduct, there is a section on the establishment and maintenance of an AHCA Ethics Committee. This committee will have the responsibility of seeing that the Code of Conduct is observed. It is understood that anyone who is a member of the AHCA will embrace the Code of Conduct when approved by the membership.
Finally, we are presenting a Code of Conduct for the student-athlete as well. We believe it is our responsibility to raise the visibility of sportsmanship and fair play as vital elements of The Game. Without the acceptance of sportsmanship as a cornerstone of intercollegiate athletics by coach and athlete alike, there can be no such thing as "the college hockey community".
[Please note: references to a given on-ice contest will refer to such contest as a "game". References to the greater culture of the sport shall be referred to as 'The Game".]
A. Responsibility to The Game
- Coaches are role models. As such, they shall always conduct themselves so as to maintain the highest principles, integrity, and dignity of The Game.
- Coaches are responsible for knowing, understanding, and following all rules of the game as established and directed by the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee, the respective NCAA Ice Hockey Championship Committee, and the conference in which the coach participates.
- Dissatisfaction with NCAA or conference policies and/or their implementation may only be addressed through the proper channels established by the NCAA or respective conference. It is never proper to express dissatisfaction through the media or any other source.
- Both the letter and the spirit of all rules must be adhered to by the coaches.
- It is the coach's responsibility to make sure that all players understand the rules, their spirit, and the only legitimate processes by which to affect change. The letter and spirit of all rules must be adhered to by all participants in The Game.
- Game officials - like coaches and players - are major participants in The Game. The coach shall neither exhibit nor tolerate any behavior from others (staff and squad) - verbal or otherwise - that might reflect poorly on an on-ice official. This includes, but is not limited to, arguing a judgement call in such a manner as to incite players and spectators against an official. There are approved methods by which a coach may comment on an official's performance. Public displays of displeasure - before, during, or after a contest - are not among these approved methods.
B. Responsibility to the Institution
- Coaches are educators. The rink serves as classroom, practices provide skills, and competition allows for the pursuit of excellence. This primary function of the coach must never be disregarded.
- Coaches should never interfere with the duties and jurisdiction of other departments of an institution, including but not limited to admissions, compliance, and the various academic disciplines.
- Coaches should constantly be alert to see that their program is being conducted and promoted properly. While there are definable duties in which coaches hold primary responsibility, coaches are also responsible for having an awareness of all institutional activities that may affect their program's performance and reputation.
- Coaches should immediately notify their athletic director of any situation that might violate the Code of Ethics or any NCAA or conference rule or regulation.
C. Responsibility to the Student-Athlete
- Coaches should never place the value of a win above the objective of instilling the highest ideals and character traits in their players. The safety and welfare of the players should always be uppermost in their mind and these values must never be sacrificed for personal prestige or personal gain.
- Coaches should never teach their players tactics or skills designed to circumvent the intent of the rulebook and the standards of fair play. The rules exist to protect the players and provide a common standard by which final results will be determined. Coaches should not attempt to "beat the rules" or take any unfair advantage over an opponent.
- Whenever players exhibit unsportsmanlike behavior on their own, it is the responsibility of the coach to address that behavior and put an end to it. Coaches are responsible for the conduct of their players.
- The diagnosis and treatment of injuries is a medical problem and coaches should always defer to the proper medical authorities without the slightest interference.
- Coaches, in consultation with the proper athletic department administrator, are responsible for knowing and following the NCAA Manual, the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules book, or the NCAA Ice Hockey Officials' Manual. Coaches should not knowingly jeopardize the eligibility and participation of any student-athlete due to ignorance of the rules and their application.
- Coaches should not make any demands on a student-athlete that are inconsistent with NCAA guidelines and regulations or in any way compromise the student-athlete's academic pursuits.
- It shall be understood by coaches that their general responsibility to "the student-athlete" and to "The Game" includes all student-athletes, whether on his team or on an opponent's.
D. Responsibility To Officials
- All game officials - including but not limited to on-ice officials, goal judges, scorers, host facility personnel - shall at all times be treated in a professional and courteous manner.
- In particular, on-ice officials should be treated with respect at all times and it is the particular responsibility of the host coach to insure for the safety and well-being of these officials in that host facility.
- Coaches should be sensitive to the impropriety of private meetings with on-ice officials before, during, or after the contest, without the presence of a representative of the opposing team.
- Coaches wishing to express displeasure with an official's conduct must follow the proper procedure as established by the respective conference (via conference supervisor of officials, conference commissioner, etc.).
- At no time is it appropriate to use the media as a vehicle in which to criticize an official, officials in general, or any NCAA or conference committee or its policies. Not only are specific or general criticisms through the media inappropriate, so too are emphatic "No Comment" remarks, or disguised criticisms ("My athletic director told me not to comment on the officiating.")
E. Public Relations
- Members of the news media shall be treated with courtesy, honesty, and respect. Such treatment extends to members of the college sports information community as well. Derogatory and misleading statements must be avoided. Direct questions should be answered honestly or not at all.
- Coaches should take the time to instruct and guide students in their responsibility to the media as well (see attached material from the U.S. Olympic Committee). Coaches and athletes should refrain from negative comments about opponents or officials at all times.
- Coaches should respect policies and procedures established on their campus by the institution's sports information office. Coaches should see that all commitments made by players or staff regarding interviews or photo sessions be honored. Coaches shall also respect the policies established by the sports information office for the press box, home and away. The press box is a work area. The sports information director will determine policies for assistant coaches, statisticians, non-dressed players, and professional scouts. It is expected that all coaches will abide by these policies.
- Coaches should be available to the media following a brief post-game cooling off period. The coach should consult with the sports information office regarding post-game policies for athletes. The policies that are established must give all members of the media equal access to designated participants.
- The AHCA Executive Committee serves as Ethics Committee, the AHCA President as chairman.
- The Executive Director attends all meetings and participates in all conference calls but is not a voting member (an ex-officio member).
B. Enforcement & Due Process
- The Ethics Committee is empowered to investigate any and all alleged violations of the Code of Ethics brought to the Committee's attention in writing by an AHCA member. Any non-member wishing to file a grievance must do so through a paid-up member of the AHCA.
AMENDED: May, 1998: It is the obligation of the Ethics Committee to review any situation resulting in conference or NCAA sanctions against a coach or his/her program. Upon the conclusion of such review, the Ethics Committee will take action as deemed appropriate.
- After a formal charge is brought before the Ethics Committee, the Committee must first convene to determine if there is reason to proceed with the matter. If the matter is determined to have standing, the member coach identified in the grievance must be notified in writing and given 30 days in which to respond to the committee.
- An AHCA member shall not automatically be presumed to be in violation of the Code of Ethics because his institution has been found in violation of rules of the NCAA or a given conference.
- If the Ethics Committee finds that the AHCA member in question has not violated the Code of Ethics, he shall be notified of such a decision promptly and in writing.
- If the Ethics Committee finds that the AHCA member in question has indeed violated the Code of Ethics, it may elect one or more of the following courses of action:
a) A letter of reprimand to the coach and only to the coach.
b) A letter of reprimand to the coach, with copies sent to other interested parties (AD, president, conference commissioner).
c) Place the coach on a one-year probation. Any violation of the Code of Ethics during the probationary period will result in immediate and indefinite suspension of the coach's AHCA membership.
d) Immediate suspension of AHCA membership and its privileges for one year or more.
e) If an Officer or Governor of the AHCA, removal from that position.
- Should a charged AHCA member refuse to respond to the Committee's notification, the Committee may proceed with its deliberations and take appropriate action. In order to take action, a majority of the committee members (3) must be in agreement.
- If an AHCA member wishes to appeal the decision of the Ethics Committee, he may do so to those Officers and Governors not included on the Ethics Committee. They must respond to such an appeal within 30 days of its finding.
C. Amending The Code of Conduct
- Any AHCA member may propose to amend the Code of Conduct. Such proposals must be submitted in writing to the Ethics Committee and the Ethics Committee must make a recommendation to the Governors and Officers in writing within 30 days. The Ethics Committee has the responsibility of putting the proposal in the proper form and language consistent with the existing Code of Conduct, without changing the substance of the proposal.
- The entire membership will be asked to vote on the proposal as submitted by the Ethics Committee at the next annual AHCA Convention. If adopted, the measure will go into effect at the start of the following academic year.
[NOTE.- The following is a voluntary Hockey Players' Code of Conduct which college hockey players, at the request of an AHCA member coach, may be asked to read and post in the team locker room. The AHCA has no direct jurisdiction over student-athletes. It is hoped that coaches and student-athletes alike will embrace the letter and spirit of this code.]
- The ability to participate in the game of college hockey is made possible by the institution. The hockey players accept that this is an opportunity, not a right.
- Hockey players should always conduct themselves so as to maintain the highest principles, integrity, and dignity of their institution in particular and The Game in general.
- Hockey players should always adhere to the spirit and letter of the playing rules established by the NCAA.
- Hockey players should always adhere to the spirit and letter of all rules - on and off the ice -established by the NCAA, the institution, the institution's respective conference, and the community at large.
- Hockey players accept the authority of all game officials. At no time is it appropriate to demonstrably question the decisions and actions of game officials, particularly on-ice officials.
- Hockey players accept the notion that an athlete's strong desire to compete and succeed is in no way compromised by respect for the rule book and respect for all opponents. Acceptance of this concept is the very heart of sportsmanship and fair play.
- Hockey players' actions will never deliberately jeopardize the safety and well being of opponents, teammates, officials, or spectators.
- Hockey players' actions will never deliberately attempt to circumvent the letter and spirit of the rules, on and off the ice. It is also understood that all hockey players are responsible for knowing and understanding all rules that pertain to their participation in The Game.
- Hockey players accept that their academic responsibilities supersede their athletic responsibilities.
- Hockey players will honestly report all injuries and medical conditions in a timely manner to the appropriate institutional medical personnel.