Excellent, (in my best Montgomery Burns impersination!) After those well put round of comments taking both sides of the necessity of sportsmanship scores, I am now able to layout my master plan.
For this past tournament a win got you 15, a tie gave 10, a loss gave 5, with a possible 12 for sportsmanship. Score range 5 - 27! Regardless of any argument, this makes for a possible runaway tournament.
I think that Sportsmanship scores are necessary but there weight in the scoring should be decreased. In a 5-10-15 scoring scale, a MAX sportsmanship of 5 would balance things out. A loss with a good sportsmanship score would keep you in the tourney while a win with a bad sportsmanship would keep you from running away with the tourney but not keep you from winning it all if you take the next two games, (skulls!)
Another possible solution is an even lower sportsmanship MAX score with some sort of SACRIFICIAL scoring system. Ill give you a MAX of 3 sportsmanship and I will give another bonus 3 points that will be deducted from my score. If he is that good of an opponent, prove it! If no one gives the bonus three, and that is likely, then the 3 base sportsmanship score that everyone has will cancel each other out. If you get tanked, or if you get upset and tank the other person in a bad decision that you regret later, than the 3 points will most likely not have a large impact on the tournament. A little, but not a lot.
These are just some ideas I had in my head. If you think these are bad ideas to an old problem then by all means show me how stupid I am in public and not in a private email. But please leave your address so we can talk in person ;)