York College named NAIA Champions of Character Institution
The NAIA Champions of Character program seeks to create a campus environment in which every NAIA student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through the five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership.
The group’s mission is to change the culture of sport, replacing the current cycle of cheating, trash talking, taunting and out of control behaviors found in today’s sports culture with positive traits.
To that end, the NAIA is recognizing athletic programs, such as the one at YC, that intentionally teach character along with athletic excellence.
This aligns perfectly with the mission of York College, says Athletic Director Jared Stark, who noted that YC was recognized for 2009-2010 as well. “Service is crucial to our mission. One of the core components of the Champions of Character program is servant leadership. This program directly supports our mission of equipping students to serve.”
The organization recognized 221 colleges and universities nationwide with this distinction in 2010-2011. Institutions were measured based on a demonstrated commitment to Champions of Character tenets and earned points in each of the following categories: character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition, and character promotion.
Stark says York College earned points for the numerous service projects athletes have been involved in, such as a recent 5K fundraiser hosted by the women’s cross country team for the non-profit Tiny Hands International, and annual projects such as Panthers vs. Cancer, which supports local families affected by the disease.
York College also received points for its student-athletes’ cumulative grade point average, which is higher than the general student population.
“In today’s complex college athletic environments – where success is sometimes only measured by wins and losses – strengthening effective athletic departments and leadership is key to advancing character-driven intercollegiate athletics,” said Kristin Gillette, NAIA director of the Champions of Character program. “The scorecard supports and recognizes member institutions and conferences using sport as a vehicle to teach life lessons. No doubt this is a point of differentiation in college athletics and making a huge impact on our 60,000 student-athletes.”