The National Association of Sports Officials found that 57 percent of officials surveyed believe sportsmanship is getting worse nationwide.
The main culprits?
The parents of youth and high school athletes that are causing problems during games.
Some sporting officials in North Carolina have been documenting little league parents who get angry on the sidelines during a game. You can find footage of the outbursts on Facebook and YouTube.
Most of the videos are of parents getting into altercations with umpires and other sporting officials. Some are funny, others are just plain obnoxious. However, there are a select few that cross the line of a passionate parent to criminal behavior.
Kingsport, Tennessee, was the battleground between a brawl with parents from opposing teams that was captured in a viral video.
The altercation started after a parent of one of the teams repeatedly verbally harassed the umpire. One of the parents of the opposing team was upset and engaged in a heated argument with the other parent that lead to violence.
North Carolina wants to prevent this from happening. The state decided that anyone who assaults or yells at a sporting official will face a class one misdemeanor. The charge carries repercussions of up to 45 days in jail.
“It’s a hot-button issue,” said Ethan Faggett, who is the information officer for the Fort Myers Little League Club. “It happens in all sports, soccer, baseball, basketball. Parents should know better.”
Parents misbehaving along the sidelines has gotten so bad that in some states, sporting officials are opting out of youth and high school sports.
In Iowa, the mass exodus has led to a shortage of officials on the field. According to the Indiana High School Athletic Association, from 2007 to 2017 it recorded a 12 percent decrease in its total number of registered officials.
Ethan said that the league has a discipline committee that deals with disruptive parents.
Matt Stanfield, an umpire in Southwest Florida, said he has yet to witness “a whole lot” of parents misbehaving on the sidelines here, but he knows it happens.
These days, most little leagues have a supervisor at the games.
If a parent gets out of line, the league supervisor will ask them to leave. And if the parent refuses to exit the stands, then the police will be called.