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Brandon Hill
Editorial Manager

Twitter @idahosportsbh

NFHS: 'Parents and Fans Biggest Challenge Today'

In a Thursday press release, the NFHS named inappropriate adult behavior as an "epidemic"

By: Brandon Hill
Published: 9/5/2019 10:59:31 AM


In a press release from the National Federation of State High School Associations, Executive Director Karissa Niehoff identified one of the larger threats facing high school athletics.

“Inappropriate adult behavior at high school athletic events throughout the country has reached epidemic proportion,” Niehoff said in the release.

Niehoff cited “a recent national survey” in which out of 2,000 high school athletic directors, 62.3% said “dealing with aggressive parents and adult fans” was their least favorite aspect of their job.

When it comes to officiating, Niehoff said athletes’ family members can be the chief reason why many referees quit after just two years.

”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,” she said. “No officials means no more games.”

In response, Niehoff and the NFHS released six recommendations on how to appropriately cheer on high school athletes. The complete list of recommendations from the NFHS can be found below.

1. Act Your Age.
You are, after all, an adult. Act in a way that makes your family and school proud.

2. Don’t Live Your Life Vicariously Through Your Children.
High school sports are for them, not you. Your family’s reputation is not determined by how well your children perform on the field of play.

3. Let Your Children Talk to the Coach Instead of You Doing It for Them.
High school athletes learn how to become more confident, independent and capable—but only when their parents don’t jump in and solve their problems for them.

4. Stay in Your Own Lane.
No coaching or officiating from the sidelines. Your role is to be a responsible, supportive parent—not a coach or official.

5. Remember, Participating in a High School Sport Is Not About Getting a College Scholarship.
According to the NCAA, only about two percent of all high school athletes are awarded a sports scholarship, and the total value of the scholarship is only about $18,000.

6. Make Sure Your Children Know You Love Watching Them Play.
Do not critique your child’s performance on the car ride home. Participating in high school sports is about character development, learning and having fun- not winning and losing.

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.



Fan Comments Sign In | Register
9/5/2019 12:07:45 PM
Accurate And Alarming
Brandon - Good job picking up this press release from the NFHS. In my expereince as a sports announcer, I would say that the NFHS is spot on in their assessment of some "adult" fan behavior and the consequences of that behavior. I announce 150-200 games every year in Idaho at the High School level. I have done so, in Idaho, for the last 6 years. It wasn't good when I started and it has gotten worse. Some "adult" fans should simply be ejected from games and, upon repeat offenses, denied access to any further games. How that's done is open to debate but what is not in debate is the need for "adults" to act like "adults". In the press box or court-side, I hear f-bombs, deafening threats, accusations and explicative slurs targeting officials, coaches and players. I talk to officials before very game and thank them, as sincerely as I can, for being there to officiate and for putting up with crap that some "adults" spew. We are blessed to have men and women still willing to officiate here, in Idaho. Blessed. And we have fewer of them available every year. We need to clean out the repeat offenders so we can clean up the expereince that most "adults", players, coaches and offciials came to enjoy.
9/24/2019 2:32:59 PM
questions then I have?
1st or 6th Why do high school coaches get fired for losing records? Why do we celebrate winning titles and come to watch good teams more so if winning and losing doesn't matter at all in high school sports? It matters. It should not be the only aspect of sports we hold high though agreed. 1. I hope adults act mature and be an example, but that is not always the case by far, espcially in sports. 2. Your kids do represent you in all they do aka family name and honor. They carry on who your family is for generations to come in many traditions including sports excellence if that is the case. I disagree. But living through them for sports yes not right. 3. Sometimes, almost ever year and team has issues with communication between each other and coaches staff etc. and different ways of viewing the situation and advice to resolve it can be quit helpful. But yes, parents should parent and coaches coach and leave it be most times. Parents should step in in certain situations yes. 4. yes, referees should be held accountable for blatant mistakes as well as the kids and coaches. same standard for all. 5. For some, participating in high school sports to get a college degree is very necessary and useful. Motivation and oppertunity is very much a driving factor for some who need it. Those stats might be a bit off and your just going by the NCAA stats they say they are. Their is also the NAIA and many levels of college sports that offer scholarships for kids to earn through sports participation and excellence. Kids should strive to be better though and not parents forcing them too. Many high school kids who are serious can go on to the college level in many sports and earn scholarships and degrees. The 2% stat more likely applies to those who can go pro than those who go to college on scholarship for your stat. Over 400 DI NCAA schools alone who offer over 30 sports with scholarships at least. Again, no D2 or NAIA considerations... ? So don't belittle the efforts of families who see the oppertunity because it is their and more realistic than this article makes it to be. After all, few kids truely pursue sports anyone in college of all those who participate. I disagree with these evidence I have shown with very much so. I hear high school participation in sports is dwindling. We think they should stick with it for the benefits of doing sports in the long run. Maybe referees should do the same with their stop and stop quitting because some days are tough. The school and coaches should be addressed if there is poor sportsmanship. They lead by example as the families follow. Refs should strive to do their best and not be arrogant when a mistake is made by them and pointed out by a family fan. sincerely, a concerned fan of this wedsite.

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