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  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.

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