Parents and Adult Fans: The Biggest Challenge Facing High School Sports Today

Aug 27, 2019 | Editorial

From 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:

  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 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 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 a college scholarship. According to the NCAA, only about two percent of all high school athletes are awarded a sports scholarship, and the average total value of that scholarship is only around $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 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.

[obi_random_banners]

Featured Posts

2024 State Golf Qualifiers

2024 State Golf Qualifiers

2024 Class 1A State Golf Qualifiers Ames Golf & Country Club Teams Akron-Westfield Boyden-Hull Gehlen Catholic Keota Lake Mills MMCRU Sidney South Winneshiek Winfield-Mt. Union Individuals Ethan...

read more
Soccer: 2024 Rankings

Soccer: 2024 Rankings

Fifth Edition: May 13, 2024   The fifth edition of the IHSAA's official soccer rankings are available below. The rankings for all four classes will be determined through the 2024 regular season...

read more
Tennis: 2024 Substate Results

Tennis: 2024 Substate Results

Below are results from the first and second rounds of the IHSAA's 2024 Substate Team Tournaments in Class 2A and Class 1A tennis. Substate first and second round matches were scheduled for Saturday,...

read more
Tennis: 2024 District Results

Tennis: 2024 District Results

Below are results from the IHSAA's 2024 district singles and doubles tournaments in Class 2A and Class 1A tennis. District meets for all singles and doubles sites were scheduled for Wednesday, May...

read more
Soccer: 2024 Postseason Brackets

Soccer: 2024 Postseason Brackets

Substate brackets for the 2024 soccer postseason are now available for all four classes of IHSAA soccer. The first round of postseason games are scheduled for Monday, May 13 (2A and 1A) and Tuesday,...

read more