'Cool It': Ohio association calls out abusive sports parents

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTHR) — Loud parents have been put on notice by the head of high school athletics in Ohio.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association posted a letter on its website Monday telling parents who criticize officiating to "cool it."

"When you attend an athletic event that involves your son or daughter, cheer to your heart’s content, enjoy the camaraderie that high school sports offer and have fun. But when it comes to verbally criticize game officials or coaches, cool it," the letter read.

The letter cites a recent survey that showed more than 75 percent of high school officials said "adult behavior" was the main reason they quit. It also showed 80 percent of young officials quit after just two years because of parental abuse.

"Make no mistake about it. Your passion is admired, and your support of the hometown team is needed. But so is your self-control. Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child’s school and is the primary reason Ohio has an alarming shortage of high school officials," the letter continued.

The association said there are more officials over the age of 60 than those that are under 30 and the retirements of those older officials has contributed to the shortage. Games have been postponed or canceled because of a lack of referees.

The letter, which was co-authored by the Indianapolis-based National Federation of State High School Associations, encourages parents to become part of the solution by registering to become a licensed official through the website HighSchoolOfficials.com.

"Otherwise, adult role models at high school athletic events here in Ohio are always welcome," the letter concluded.

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