- Created: Tuesday, 27 September 2022 14:09
By DR. KARISSA NIEHOFF, Chief Executive Officer of the National Federation of State High School Associations
and BILL FAFLICK, Executive Director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association
There’s an unfortunate trend continuing in Kansas and across the nation that must be stopped: the bad behavior of coaches, parents and fans at high school athletic events.
We’ve all seen it: the yelling, harassing, berating, disrespecting and even physically assaulting high school referees, umpires and other officials during and after games. And oftentimes, the harassment continues on social media. Perhaps you’ve witnessed it firsthand or even been one of those offenders yourself.
Not only is this behavior unacceptable and embarrassing, but it’s also having serious consequences on the future of high school sports.
That’s because another unfortunate trend is sweeping the nation: a critical shortage of high school officials in every state. The #1 reason? You guessed it: Coaches, parents and fans mistreating officials.
National surveys of officials report alarming statistics:
55% of officials say verbal abuse from coaches, parents and fans is the No. 1 reason they quit.
59% don't feel respected.
57% think sportsmanship is getting worse.
84% feel officials are treated unfairly by spectators.
46% have felt unsafe or feared for their safety due to spectator, coach, adminnistrator or player behavior.