By Karissa Niehoff, executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations
and Tom Keating, executive director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association
Inappropriate adult behaviors at high school athletic events across the country have 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 referee or umpire those contests agree. In fact, almost 60 percent of new officials registered in Iowa in 2016-17 did not return to officiate in 2017-18, and unruly parents are often cited as a major reason why. As a result, there is a growing shortage of high school officials here in Iowa, and in baseball, football, track and field, and wrestling, the IHSAA is seeing record lows. No officials means no 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 sporting event does not give you the right to be rude, disrespectful, or verbally abusive. Cheer loud and be proud, but please also be responsible and considerate as a spectator.
The future of high school sports in Iowa is dependent on you.