Fewer People Willing To Officiate Kids' Sports

September 26, 2019

© Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

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It's getting tougher to find folks willing to act as umpires and referees for youth sports. And those that do take on the task don't last long. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, 80 percent of high school sports officials quit before their third year on the job. One of the main reasons is the bad behavior of parents. Everything from verbal abuse, to physical threats, and even actual violence is becoming far too common. At a baseball game being played by 7-year-olds in Colorado earlier this year, a full on brawl broke out involving the parents.

Barry Mano, president of the National Association of Sports Officials, says "Not a week goes by that we don't field a call in our offices from one of our members, or even a non-member sometimes, having to do with assaultive behavior." A recent survey of youth sports officials in the U.S. found that 13 percent have been assaulted, 47 percent have feared for their safety, 57 percent have had to break up a fight between players and 64 percent have ejected a spectator over unruly behavior.