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UWF Wins NCAA Division II Game Environment Award

ATLANTA, Ga. – The University of West Florida has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the NCAA Division II Game Environment Award of Excellence, a competition established last year to incite institutions to promote civility, sportsmanship, and a family-friendly atmosphere at their athletics contests.  UWF, which receives a $500 grant that may be applied to future game-environment initiatives, also was selected as its conference winner (Gulf South Conference). In all, 10 conference winners were named in the award’s first year.

West Florida was recognized for its “Argonaut Spirit Challenge,” a promotion that awards student organizations on campus with prizes for the groups that showed the most school spirit over a span of six basketball double-headers.  The effort was relevant to the Division II game-environment effort, since part of the purpose is to engage other campus groups to support athletics in a sportsmanlike manner.

UWF officials judged the “challenge” based on the percentage of the organization’s roster to attend and the type of spirit (both in wardrobe and in voice) they added to the game environment. Points could be deducted in fact if the cheering was negative.

“This competition has made a tremendous impact on our game environment,” said Athletics Director Dave Scott. “We had more fans attend our games, especially students who otherwise may not have come to the game. The promotion helped entice the student groups to come out to the basketball games and support the teams.”

Scott said attendance increased by an average of 175 spectators for each of the six games during the promotion. The effort was so successful that the school is doing it again during this year’s basketball season. “We even did a ‘Diet Spirit Challenge’ this fall on a smaller scale that centered on a volleyball game and a soccer double-header,” he said.

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