Texas A&M stands apart from many universities. One of the reasons is its emphasis on tradition, values and honor, which Texas A&M expresses through the Aggie Code of Honor, "An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do." But does the Aggie Honor Code apply to intercollegiate athletics?
In sport, a tension exists between winning and integrity. This tension is as old as sport itself and has prompted coaches and others to comment on the issue. Vince Lombardi said, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." Whereas Grantland Rice wrote, "It's not whether you win or lose; it's how you play the game." Is one of these more appropriate for professional sports and the other for scholastic sports?
In the competitive world of intercollegiate athletics, the student-athletes, coaches and administrators involved are familiar with the tension between winning and integrity. They know the immediate importance of winning and the lasting importance of how they win or lose. We at Texas A&M Athletic Compliance asked Texas A&M's president, athletic director and coaches to comment on the importance of winning with integrity. Here is what they said:
- Men's Golf Head Coach JT Higgins: "In golf, we police ourselves. Honesty, integrity and sportsmanship play an integral role in our sport. We call our own fouls and assess penalties on ourselves. I believe it is just as important to carry this philosophy over into our daily routines. We are not interested in winning if we cannot win within the rules and as we strive to reach our goals on the course, we will be able to say we won with honor and integrity."
- Women's Softball Head Coach Jo Evans: "At Texas A&M University, we abide by the Aggie Honor Code. The Code is in place to ensure integrity, fairness and respect by our students, faculty and staff. Our coaching staff abides by the Aggie Honor Code and by the creed that, win or lose, we will do so with integrity, dignity and honor. Like the Aggie Honor Code, NCAA rules exist to promote integrity and fairness. Without these rules and compliance with these rules, college athletics would be in disarray."
Texas A&M Athletic Compliance has focused on two messages to convey to former students and fans of Texas A&M athletics teams:
- Win with integrity and
- Ask before you act.