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Coach makes plea to parents as ref shortage could impact season

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 4:23 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A Kansas high school basketball coach made a plea online, begging parents to do better and treat referees with more respect. The coach’s post on social media followed an incident last week at a Clearwater Middle School basketball game. That game involved a fan yelling at officials.

“In the post, the coach said, “screaming at officials is absolutely unacceptable and parent behavior continues to be the reason officials are leaving the game.”

The coach goes on to say, “there is no reason to verbally assault an official. It is unacceptable. Please stop it and set a better example for your school, community and families.”

Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) Assistant Executive Director Francine Martin said a shortage of officials for high school games in the state has worsened in 10 years with a shortage of about 600 officials. Verbal assaults are a big reason why.

She said confidence for officials starts to wane with people are constantly complaining or challenging ever time they hear a whistle.

Martin said she is aware of some incidents of fan misbehavior this year, even a parent chasing down referees after a game.

“You have a fan chasing them off, off the court after the game wanting to know their names and phone numbers because they’re unhappy with how they did as an official. That doesn’t make people want to come back and be officials,” Martin said.

Greater Wichita Officials Organization Chairman Keith Kinley said parents need to remember why the game is being played.

“It’s a game for your kids, you know you want your children to have a god experience,” Kinley said. “And that’s the most important part of officiating, none of us woke up that morning and wanted anybody to lose.”

You can learn more about what it takes to be an official for high school games in Kanas and apply to do the job on KSHSAA’s website.

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