OHSAA: Parent abuse leading to shortage of high school game officials, parents asked to ‘cool it’

OHSAA: Parent abuse leading to shortage of high school game officials, parents asked to ‘cool it’

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Ohio High School Athletic Association has taken dead aim at parents, blaming them for an “alarming” shortage of high school officials.

OHSAA, with the support of the National Federation of State High School Associations, released a letter titled, “Dear Mom and Dad: Cool It.”

OHSAA claims parent abuse leading to shortage of game officials

The OHSAA cites statistics from the National Association of Sports Officials that 75 percent of all high school officials who quit say that “adult behavior” is the primary reason.

“It’s tough sometimes, I can see why some people just hang it up, it’s not worth the money if you’re going to be yelled at by people other than the coaches,” Aaron Phillips a six-year official said after officiating the Cuyahoga Heights vs. Berkshire basketball game.

Ryan Kelber is the athletic director at Cuyahoga Heights High School, and he says that he has not had a tough time getting officials for his games, but he understands why OHSAA is taking a stand.

“The numbers are pretty low for under 30 years old,” he said, “So this is a way, maybe, to tell the fans, you are the reason that maybe we have low numbers of officials,” he said.

Parents yelling at refs is more than just an issue of a dwindling number of officials Kelber believes, “It’s embarrassing for the kid, the son or the daughter so we try to tell the parent your son is embarrassed by your actions.”

OHSAA claims the official shortage is severe enough in some areas that games have been canceled at the lower high school levels.

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