Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics has been developed to protect and promote the best interests of the game. Its primary purpose is to clarify and distinguish ethical and approved professional practices from those which are detrimental. Its secondary purpose is to emphasize the purpose and value of football and to stress the proper function of coaches in relation to schools, players, and the public. The ultimate success of the principles and standards of this Code depends upon the football coach.

Article One – Responsibilities to Players

1. In his/her relationships with players under his/her care, the coach should always be aware of the tremendous influence he/she wields. The coach should never place the value of a win above that of instilling the highest desirable ideals and character traits in his/her players. The safety and welfare of his/her players should always be uppermost in his/her mind, and they must never be sacrificed for any personal prestige or selfish glory.

2. In teaching the game of football, the coach must realize that there are certain rules designed to protect the player and provide common standards for determining a winner and loser. Any attempts to beat these rules, to take unfair advantage of an opponent, or to teach deliberate unsportsmanlike conduct have no place in the game of football, nor has any coach, guilty of such teaching, the right to call himself/herself a coach.

3. The diagnosis and treatment of injuries is a medical problem and should, under no circumstances, be considered a province of the coach. A coach’s responsibility is to see that injured players are given prompt and competent medical attention and that the most minute detail of a physician’s orders is carried out.

4. Under no circumstances should a coach authorize the use of drugs. Medicants, stimulants, or drugs should be used only when authorized and supervised by a physician.

5. A player’s future should not be jeopardized by any circumvention of eligibility rules.

6. In the educational setting, a coach should not make demands on his/her players that will interfere with the player’s opportunities for achieving academic success.

Article 2 – Administrators’ Responsibilities

1. Administrators should supervise their programs and personnel so as to maintain the principles, integrity and dignity of the organization / institution which they represent

2. Administrators should not exert pressure on members of their organization or coaches, to give players consideration they do not deserve.

3. Administrators, in conjunction with their coaches, should set and follow the procedures which relate to the players, rules, officials, public relations, recruiting, game day and other applicable responsibilities.

Article 3 – Rules of the Game

1. The Points of Emphasis which appear in the Canadian Rule Book for Tackle Football shall be considered an integral part of this Code of Ethics and should be carefully read and observed.

2. Each coach should be acquainted thoroughly with the rules of the game. He/she is responsible for having the rules taught and interpreted for his/her players.

3. Both the letter and the spirit of the rules must be adhered to by the coaches.

4. To gain an advantage by circumvention or disregard for the rules, brands that person unfit to be associated with football.

5. A coach is responsible for flagrant roughing tactics. He/she is responsible for illegal substitutions. He/she shall not permit faking of injuries in order to stop the clock. He/she shall not permit motion which has the intent of drawing an opponent offside.

6. A coach must remember that it is not the purpose of football to hurt or injure an opponent by legal or illegal methods.

7. Habit formation is developed on the practice field. Where coaches permit, encourage, or combine performance which is dangerous to an opponent, they are derelict in their responsibility to teach fair play and good sportsmanship. This aspect of coaching must be attacked just as vigorously as the teaching of offense and defense, and to the players it is far more important than all the technical aspects of the game combined. Any coach who fails to stress this point, or who permits, encourages or defends the use of unsportsmanlike tactics, shall be considered guilty of the most serious breach of football coaching ethics.

Article 4 – Officials

1. No competitive contest can be played satisfactorily without impartial, competent officials. Officials must have the respect and support of administrators, coaches and players. On and off-the-record criticism of officials to players or to the public shall be considered unethical.
2. There should be a co-operative relationship between coaches, administrators and officials’ associations, with frequent interchange of ideas and suggestions. Coaches should, whenever possible, accept invitations to attend officials’ rules meetings. Similarly, coaches should extend invitations to officials to discuss the interpretation of rules with their squads, and, on occasion, to officiate at scrimmages for mutual benefits.

3. Good officiating promotes enjoyment of the game and protects the players. When an official accepts a game assignment, his/her responsibility is well defined. The protection and welfare of the players are paramount and there can be no compromise. Any official who fails to discharge promptly his/her responsibility to penalize a player or coach for an infraction, is delinquent and unqualified in officiate.

4. On the day of a game, officials should be created in a courteous manner. On their part, officials are expected to show courtesy and respect to players, coaches and administrators. Conferences between administrators, coaches and officials shall always be conducted according to procedures established by the governing Conference or Officials’ Association. In every respect the Canadian Rule Book for Tackle Football shall be followed in coach-official relationships on the field, during and following a game. Any criticism which the coach or administrator may have concerning officiating, or any official’s criticism of the public, teams, coaches or individual players, should be made in writing to the office which assigned the official to the game. For a coach to address, or permit anyone on his/her bench to address uncomplimentary remarks to any official during the progress of a game, or to indulge in conduct which might incite players or spectators against the officials, is a violation of the rules of the game and must be considered unworthy conduct for a member of the coaching profession.

5. Slow motion study of controversial decisions by officials is far different from on-the-spot decisions which must be made during the course of the game. To show critical plays to sports writers, sportscasters, alumni and the public, which may incite them to label officials as incompetent, must be considered unethical conduct.

Article 5 – Public Relations

1. Members of the news media should be treated with courtesy, honesty and respect. Derogatory and misleading statements should be avoided. Direct questions should be answered honestly, or not at all. If good judgement indicates an honest answer would be prejudicial to the best interests of the game, ethical procedure demands that it not be answered. In such instances, “No comment” is justifiable.

2. Coaches should assume the responsibility of teaching their players how to conduct themselves in interviews in the best interests of football.

3. Coaches should not stress injuries, disciplinary measures, academic difficulties, eligibility problems, and similar personal matters. Disciplinary problems should be a “family affair” to be solved between the coach and the players. Injuries are essentially the province of the team physician or trainer. No good purpose can be served by emphasizing such matters.

4. Coaches and administrators should avoid talking in public about unethical recruiting and the use of illegal tactics.

5. Any statements which tend to portray football in any light other than being part of the educational process are detrimental to the future of the profession.

6. It is unethical for coaches and administrators to use alumni, booster, and quarterback club organizations in an attempt to defeat or obstruct institutional athletic controls, or to encourage the violation of established rules. It is unethical for coaches and administrators to make demands, financial or otherwise, upon such groups which are not in keeping with the letter and spirit of existing controls, or in any other manner misuse such strength and power in violation of accepted rules and regulations.

7. Solution of professional problems should be within the profession and not in the press.

8. Unsportsmanlike or hateful comments made via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) by players, coaches, or other members representing an organization and the OFC as a whole, will not be tolerated and could potentially lead to a player suspension at the discretion of the OFC Executive.

Article 6 – Recruiting

1. All institutional, conference, and national regulatory body rules pertaining to recruiting shall be strictly observed.

2. It is a breach of ethics to recruit a player enrolled in another program (or to recruit a prospective athlete who has avowed his/her intention to enroll in another program) for the purpose of participating in regularly organized fall practice.

3. In discussing the advantages of his/her organization/institution, the coach must confine his/her statements to an honest and forthright presentation of the facts. He/she shall refrain from making derogatory statements about other organizations / institutions and their officials.

4. It is unethical for any coach to make statements to any prospective athlete which cannot be fulfilled.

Article 7 – Game Day and Other Responsibilities

1. It is vitally important that a coach’s actions and behaviour at all times bring credit to himself/herself, his/her institution / organization, and the game of football.

2. During a game a coach should be as inconspicuous as possible. Coaches are encouraged to demonstrate a friendly and kindly attitude toward their players.

3. In the interests of enjoyment and growth of the game, administrators and coaches should encourage the type of support from fans which is conducive to producing an environment of good sportsmanship and healthy competition.