Air Force's William Kent Earns NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - William Kent, a senior thrower on the Air Force track and field team, was named a recipient of the NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award, the national office announced this afternoon (August 14) in Indianapolis.
Kent, who was honored by the Mountain West with the Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award in June, was one of three NCAA student-athletes to receive the national Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award for the 2013-14 academic year, joining Georgia tennis player Maho Kowase and Illinois College golfer Wilson Neill.
During the New Mexico Collegiate Class in February, Kent was competing in the weight throw. After his fifth throw, he saw that the official had recorded his toss at 19.55 meters. Kent knew he had recorded a great mark, but he also knew it was far short of 19.55 – an Academy record and a mark that would've qualified him to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
"I felt that the mark the official called was farther than I could have thrown, even by the end of the season," Kent said. "Knowing that the mark called was farther than what I threw, I knew that if I did not correct the official, I could not think of myself as an honorable person anymore."
Kent approached the official to explain that the tape must have been misread, as he wanted to ensure the correct distance was recorded. Initially, the official was certain the distance he had recorded was accurate; however, upon further discussion with Kent, the officials agreed to lower the mark to 18.55 meters. The toss was still far enough to win the competition, but he sacrificed a personal best, an Academy record and a NCAA provisional mark.
"Sportsmanship, to me, is an unsaid promise from one competitor to the other to behave under a certain conduct while competing," he said. "In other words, make sure you beat your opponent fair and square."
A native of Marietta, Ga., Kent is the second Air Force student-athlete to earn the NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship award, joining former fencer Peter French, who received the honor in 2008.
In receiving the award, Kent said, "I know that I can take pride in my coaching staff, my teammates, my parents and my teachers for instilling in me the beliefs of sportsmanship and the courage to act in a challenging situation. I believe that this award does not belong to just me alone, but to all those around me who have inspired me to be the person I am."
The Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award, administered by the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct, is given to student-athletes who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. Sportsmanship is one of the founding principles of the NCAA and these awards honor the efforts of student-athletes who work to protect the integrity of the game and create an even and welcoming playing field for all student-athletes and fans.