Inappropriate adult behavior at high school athletic events throughout the country has reached epidemic proportion.
When more than 2,000 high school athletic directors were asked in a recent national survey what they like least about their job, 62.3 percent said it was “dealing with aggressive parents and adult fans.”
And the men and women who wear the black and white stripes agree. In fact, almost 80 percent of officials quit after the first two years on the job, and unruly parents are cited as the reason why. As a result, there is a growing shortage of high school officials nationwide, and in some sports like wrestling, swimming, and track and field, the shortage is severe. No officials means no more games.
If you are a parent attending a high school athletic event this fall, you can help by following these six guidelines:
Purchasing a ticket to a high school athletic event does not give you the right to be rude, disrespectful or verbally abusive. Cheer loud and be proud, but be responsible and respectful. The future of high school sports in our nation is dependent on you.
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is beginning her second year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS, which celebrated its 100th year of service during the 2018-19 school year. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.