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Code of Ethics & General Rules


Revised by the Science Olympiad Rules Committee Chairs and Executive Board, July 2013 (note changes in bold)

Students, coaches, event supervisors, parents, and guests are expected to follow current Science Olympiad Rules and Policies. The goal of competition is to give one's best effort while displaying honesty, integrity, and sportsmanship, and not violate the spirit of the problem. All are expected to display courtesy and respect toward one another. Our collective example, as stated in the Science Olympiad Pledges, will promote the spirit of cooperation among all participants. Therefore:

  1. Teams may not interpret the rules so that they have an unfair advantage over the rules or another team.
  2. Unless otherwise stated, if writing utensils, notes, resources, calculators, actions, etc., are not excluded, they are permitted unless they violate the spirit of the problem.
  3. All non-permitted electronic devices must be turned off and if so directed, left in a designated spot.
  4. Once students have entered the event area to compete, they must not communicate with any outside resources, by any means, unless permitted by event rules and they must not leave until they are finished or have permission from the event supervisor.
  5. If a student does not follow accepted safety procedures, he/she will be penalized or disqualified. Students must not bring unsafe items to a tournament. 
  6. Students, coaches and other adults are responsible for ensuring that any School or Science Olympiad Policy, law or regulation is not broken. 
  7. One or more of the 15 current team members must have constructed all pre-built devices presented for judging. Any of the current team members may demonstrate or operate the device at the competition unless stated otherwise in the rules. Any student designated by the coach may impound devices.
  8. At the supervisor's and tournament director's discretion, a student or team may be penalized, disqualified or removed from an event or the tournament, depending upon the level of the infraction.
  9. A participant, coach or guest who fails to show honesty or courtesy may cause an individual or the team to be assessed penalty points or disqualified from the event, the tournament or future tournaments.
  10. A team may not arbitrate an event after they have removed their device from the impound area.
  11. All Science Olympiad Policies (requirements, clarifications, FAQs, etc.) provided on the website apply to all teams and must be treated as if they were included in the printed rules.

State and regional tournament directors must notify teams of any site-dependent rule or other rule modification at least 30 days prior to the tournament.

Science Olympiad Code of Ethics

Student participants are expected to compete in tournament events with honest effort to follow the rules and the spirit of the competition. Team members are expected to be the builders of all the devices used in the events. The goal of competition is to give one's best effort while displaying honesty, integrity, and sportsmanship. Students, coaches, parents, and guests are expected to display courtesy and respect toward Olympiad officials, other teams, and guests of the Olympiad. Failure to show honesty and/or courtesy by a participant, coach, or guest of the team may result in the disqualification of the team from that event, the entire tournament or future tournaments.

Student's Pledge

I pledge to put forth my best effort in the Science Olympiad tournament and to uphold the principles of honest competition. In my events, I will compete with integrity, respect, and sportsmanship towards my fellow competitors. I will display courtesy towards Event Supervisors and Tournament Personnel. My actions will exemplify the proud spirit of my school, team, and state.

Coach's Pledge

On behalf of the coaches and assistants at this tournament, I pledge to encourage honesty and respect for tournament personnel, our fellow coaches, and other team members. We want our efforts to bring honor to our community and school.

Parent's Pledge

On behalf of the parents and spectators I pledge to be an example for our children by:

  • respecting the rules of Science Olympiad,
  • encouraging excellence in preparation and investigation,
  • supporting independence in design and production of all competition devices,
  • and respecting the decisions of event supervisors and judges.

Our examples will promote the spirit of cooperation within and among all our participating teams.

Event Supervisor's Pledge

On behalf of my fellow supervisors and tournament personnel, I pledge to run my event with fairness and respect for the participants and their coaches. Our actions will reflect the principles of the Science Olympiad program and display the pride we feel as representatives of our colleges, universities, companies, states or organizations.

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