Youth Sports Officials, Referees Dropping Out Due to Parents’ Belligerent Behavior

referee stading on the field.
Stock/Getty Images

Youth sports officials and referees are quitting their jobs at record rates because of parents’ poor behavior during games, reports said.

The National Federation of State High School Associations said 80 percent of officials quit before they reached the third-year mark on the job.

A Fox News report stated, “One driving force behind the trend is increasingly abusive and belligerent behavior by parents, including verbal abuse, threats and even fights.”

In June, Breitbart News reported that a brawl broke out between parents at a youth baseball game in Lakewood, Colorado, after a teenage umpire made some “questionable calls”:

The Lakewood Police Department said it later identified the 12 individuals involved in the incident and cited them for disorderly conduct.

On September 14, two people were wounded when a gunman opened fire at a peewee football game in Fort Worth, Texas, according to Breitbart News.

The report said when a fight began between players on the field, a mother allegedly called her older son, who arrived soon after with a firearm and proceeded to shoot.

“[The gunman] was shooting at our sideline,” said coach Jonathan Cunningham. “He was standing at the top of the hill. You could see him pointing down shooting directly at the kids. So we checked on our players, our kids, making sure everyone was OK. That’s when we noticed one of our parents was shot.”

High school baseball umpire Bob Player, who’s been on the field for 34 years in Long Island, New York, said true sportsmanship is becoming a thing of the past.

“Sportsmanship over the past several years is getting much worse on the field,” Player said. “It’s something you almost deal with in every game in one way, shape or form.”

Player said officials are quitting at record rates due to the verbal abuse and threats they receive on a regular basis.

“[They say] I just can’t take it anymore, it’s just not worth it,” he concluded.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.