Luther Halsey Gulick's "Clean Sport Roll"

As I researched the history of Prof Blood, an extraordinary story unfolded before my eyes. Through old newspaper articles, family interviews, and even firsthand accounts from folks who were there as players and fans, I learned what Prof was like, what he believed, what values he held dear. His coaching methods, his philosophy, his personality, and more, all came to light as I dug deeper. I found how he learned the game and how he learned to teach it. Because I once lived a life when each day was either a game day or a practice day, I felt I could relate to this coaching pioneer. But it wasn't until I came across Luther Halsey Gulick's (James Naismith's boss at the YMCA) "Clean Sport Roll" that I truly saw the world through Prof's eyes.

  1. The rules of games are to be regarded as mutual agreements, the spirit or letter of which one would no sooner try to evade or break than one would any other agreement between gentlemen. The stealing of advantage in sport is to be regarded as stealing of any other kind.


  2. Visiting teams are the honored guests of the home team, and the mutual relationships in all particulars [are] to be governed by the spirits which is supposed to guide in such relationships.


  3. No action is to be done, nor course of conduct is to be pursued which would seem ungentlemanly or dishonorable if known to one's opponents or the public.


  4. No advantage is to be sought over others except those in which the game is supposed to show superiority.


  5. Advantages which the laxity of the officials may allow in regard to the interpretation and enforcement of the rules are not to be taken.


  6. Officers and opponents are to be regarded and treated as honest on intention. When opponents are evidently not gentlemen, and officers manifestly dishonest or incompetent, it is perfectly simple to avoid future relationships with them.


  7. Decisions of officials, even when they seem unfair, are to be abided by.


  8. Ungentlemanly or unfair means are not to be used even when they are used by the opponents.


  9. Good points in others should be appreciated and suitable recognition given.

Gulick reasoned that his Clean Sport Roll was appropriate and, indeed, all that was necessary because gentlemen would want to do the right thing. As for Blood, a YMCA product and physical director, he was not merely familiar with Gulick's philosophy on sportsmanship, he lived it. Throughout his career, Blood used Gulick's proclamation as an athletic beacon. Knowing Blood's allegiance to the Clean Sport Roll, one can easily predict Blood's reaction to many of the situations he later faced that related to fairness in athletics. There is no evidence that he ever wavered from or compromised any of Gulick's ideals in any of his personal or professional endeavors.