On Oct. 27, 2012, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a severe knee injury in the second quarter against Tennessee, the second of his career. While it is customary for teammates on the field at the time of an injury to gather around, South Carolina's entire sideline encircled its fallen player. The Volunteers followed suit and offered comfort and encouragement both to Lattimore and the Gamecocks players.
Though engaged in a heated Southeastern Conference game, the teams set aside their competition in support of a fallen player.
South Carolina's football team and Georgia tennis player Maho Kowase also received the award. The winners were chosen by a vote of the SEC's athletic directors. Kowase won the female award and the two football squads earned the male honor.
All three winners will be forwarded for nomination to the NCAA for its national sportsmanship awards, which will be announced in July.
"Sportsmanship, civility and societal responsibility are things that will lead to victories throughout the course of life," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "I congratulate Maho and the University of South Carolina and University of Tennessee football teams for this prestigious honor, and for being committed to athletic excellence and overall excellence."
Kowase, a junior from Japan, was competing in the NCAA women's tennis tournament when she corrected an official's incorrect call that would have favored her over her opponent.