High school sports are big part of life for many high school kids. But sometimes parents in the stands ruin things.
"We have seen some incidents in South Dakota. I know last year we had incidents with parents running on the court during a basketball game and confronting officials. We had officials who had to stay in their room for forty-five minutes to an hour after a contest, and escorted out of town," said SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos.
That behavior has caused a shortage of officials. Almost 80% of officials quit after the first two years on the job because of unruly parents. Many coaches also get out of coaching for the same reason.
"We see a lot more sports specialization. We see a lot more club stuff. So there's a lot more money that gets involved on the backside of these athletics. And that might put some more pressure on the parents in terms of we've invested this into our child and maybe that's a part of it," Swartos said.
Here are six guidelines the National Federation sent to all states.
Act your age.
Don't live vicariously through your children.
Let your children talk to the coach, instead of you doing it for them.
Stay in your own lane, meaning don't coach or officiate from the stands.
Remember high school sports aren't about getting a college scholarship. About 2% of all high school athletes will get a sports scholarship.
And finally, make sure your children know you love watching them play.
"You know I think from our offices perspective we're really going to focus on the sportsmanship aspect of it. And really try to give our local athletic directors and administrators tools to use with their parents some videos to play at parent meetings. And just to try to bring that perspective back into what high school athletics and activities are all about," Swartos said.