Are Helicopter Parents Killing the High School Referee?

If you think your job is tough, perhaps it’s time to consider the life of the high school sports referee. According to the National Association of Sports Officials, the profession now has an 80% turnover rate within two years. The reason? Overly zealous moms and dads.

“Fans have come out onto the field and threatened saying, ‘Lets go to the parking lot and we can handle it’,” one local ref told the Modesto Bee. “Two years ago, I was working a game and the cops came out because we had a coach and a parent wait for us after the game.”

Brian Moore, officials assigner for the California Interscholastic Federation’s Sac-Joaquin Section, says there’s a current shortage of about 30 to 40 referees.

“Eight out of 10 quit because they didn’t like the abuse they were given.”

According to the CIF, the mass exodus of licensed high school refs has led to cancelled or postponed games at schools throughout the state.

The Modesto City School District has been trying to encourage better behavior with something called the “Victory With Honor” policy. The CIF also recently published a memo reminding parents that “yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child’s school and is the primary reason California has an alarming shortage of high school officials.”

That may hard to remember in the heat of the moment. But for the love of the game, cool it, mom and dad.