Spartan Fans Are Encouraged To Raise Their Shield

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Time for the Spartan Nation to Raise the SHIELD!

Time for the Spartan Nation to Raise the SHIELD!

MSU is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable game-day experience for all fans inside Spartan Stadium and on campus.


EAST LANSING, Mich. - As part of a pro-active and comprehensive approach to enhancing the game-day experience for all spectators, Michigan State University will once again be asking fans to raise their SHIELD’s for this week’s football game against Michigan.


As the Spartans prepare for Saturday’s game against the Wolverines, MSU officials would like the fans to know the ‘truth’ about fan behavior, attitudes and beliefs garnered from a unique study commissioned by the University:


o  73 percent of MSU fans approve of yelling or chanting to make it difficult for the opposing team to communicate.

o  84 percent of MSU fans in the stands think it is unacceptable for fans to yell at or insult fans of the opposing team.

o  80 percent of MSU fans never participate in a group chant that involves swearing or vulgar language directed at the opposing team.

o  70 percent of MSU fans disapprove of players engaging in prolonged celebrations after a score or big play.

o  68 percent of MSU fans in the stands think there is at least some need to improve the sportsmanship of fans at college or university sporting events.


These are just some of the data-rich findings that have become the foundations for SHIELD.

SHIELD, which stands for Sportsmanship-Honor-Integrity-Enthusiasm-Leadership-Dignity, is being utilized to inform and inspire fans to make a positive impact on the game-day atmosphere at Spartan Stadium, Munn Ice Arena, Breslin Student Events Center and other competitive venues on campus. Messages are being developed to support this effort and disseminated through traditional and new media channels.


This campaign was developed as a result of a unique comprehensive study commissioned by the University last year, according to Dennis Martell, Ph.D., co-principal investigator for the MSU Social Norms Team. The survey, conducted by MSU’s Office for Survey Research, covered such topics as fan behavior, perceptions, and attitudes as well as policy changes that would help improve the game-day ambiance. A random sample of students, alumni and season-ticket holders were surveyed in the spring and summer of 2008. The survey was developed and analyzed by staff of the Office for Survey Research and the MSU Social Norms Team with the support of the Athletics Department and the Alumni Association.


“This is a one of a kind study that looked at perceptions, behaviors and beliefs having to do with the state of sportsmanship on the campus of Michigan State University,” Martell said. “It will be a model for others to replicate.”


The results are being utilized to implement an on-going research based and data driven effort to enhance the game-day experience. The efforts will include an education component, social norming messages to correct misperceptions, and environmental management options when needed.


“This is a very positive step to insure that our Spartan tradition lives on and moves forward,” MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. “We are fortunate to have some of the most loyal and supportive fans in the country, and we will do everything we can to preserve this tradition. We are committed to creating a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for all fans, both in the stadium and on campus. We want all fans attending our games to enjoy the experience in a responsible fashion. Our future success dictates that we continually define and protect who we are, all the while moving forward. That is what a shield does for us. We ask all our fans to stand behind it. We are Spartans and we stand behind our SHIELD.”


On Wednesday, the MSU Athletics Department sent an e-mail to 150,000 season-ticket holders, students and fans, with the message “Spartan Fans Raise Your Shield.” The e-mail also introduced the SHIELD logo, asking the fans to “stand behind it.” On Saturday, the video board will run public service announcements and stadium ushers will wear buttons, promoting the SHIELD campaign.