Mar 4, 2007

WIAA to ban booing?

A ban on booing is a bad idea. Granted, some high school fans can be pretty obnoxious--just like college fans. And professional sports fans. (They, unlike other professionals, pay for the privilege. Uniforms and benefits vary.)

This should be handled at a school or league level, though. I'll defer to the expert on this one, but I'm pretty sure refs already have the authority to call a technical foul or call off a contest when the crowd becomes too disruptive or unruly.

Interesting is the reasoning provided by the WIAA director:
The association director Mike Colbrese blames rude fans for the dwindling number of people who want to be coaches and officials.
Hmm... again, I'll ask the expert for comment, but I'd guess that labyrinthine regulations, pressure from high-powered parents, hyperlitigiousness, crappy pay, administrative tangles, and sore knees are bigger factors than fan follies.

Update: Steve Kelley is anti-ban.


BloggingRef said...

I can answer your questions:

On the matter of T's and forfeits for fan misbehavior, you're half right. A ref can call a T for fan behavior. This is, however, a terrible idea. To quote the NFHS basketball casebook, rule 5.4.1, which deals with unruly fans:

"The officials must ask game management or home management to control the spectators. The officials have authority to charge a technical foul(s) if it can be determined which team's spectators are involved. However, much discretion is necessary in this case and the officials must be aware that a technical foul(s) on spectators usually leads to more problems."

So a T on a fan is a terrible idea. Telling the AD or game administrator to toss the butthead (who is, 95% of the time, a parent and not a student) is the way to go.

And the same rule, by the way, says that there cannot be a forfeit due to fan behavior--only a suspended game.

To address your other question, NASO (the National Association of Sports Officials, who produce the excellent -Referee- Magazine) found in a 2001 study that officials who quit cited "poor sportsmanship by spectators" as a reason for leaving most often (76% listed this reason). It comes in ahead of "poor sportsmanship by coaches and players" (68%), "family issues" and "career demands" (65% each). So Colbrese is right. Treat people like crap, and a good number don't want to ref anymore--and many don't even want to start (recruitment is way harder than retention). How can this be a surprise?

I'm not an advocate of banning booing, but fans--especially parents--are often horrible. (And often doesn't mean occasionally. It means often.) If a school is tolerating crappy behavior, it's not teaching its kids some important citizenship lessons. If a state-level hammer is needed to knock those schools into line, so be it.

Jim Anderson said...

That's why I defer to the experts.

I'd be curious if the same reasons are cited by coaches. I could definitely see why officials would say that--having to stand there game in and game out and nonchalantly tolerate abuse would get tiresome.