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Let's Gain New Appreciation for Officials  
 

Extracted comments from Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director.

 

But what about the parents and other fans in the stands? Will their behavior be changed upon return? The conclusion of the New Mexico Activities Association’s state basketball tournament last month provided an interesting perspective on the impact of fans to the atmosphere at high school sporting events.  

After completing the first two days of its state tournament with fans in the stands, the NMAA conducted the final three days without fans because of concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Dana Pappas, commissioner of officials for the NMAA, noted the following about the final three days of competition:  

“Officials would make a call and if coaches had a question about it, they asked – calmly and respectfully. In huddles during time-outs, coaches just talked to their players, without raised voices. The behavior of coaches on the sidelines from Thursday through Saturday was in stark contrast to what we witnessed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Perhaps they did not feel the need to be overly emotional for the benefit of their fans. 

“My hope is that the absence of sport throughout the world gives us all a moment to gain perspective and do a ‘gut check’ as to the kind of fans we are at contests. If the quality of the game is unchanged (or even better) without fans there to scream at the coaches, officials and players, then is that behavior really necessary when the games resume?”  

The message here is that while the games can continue without fans, the ideal situation is for stands full of fans positively cheering for their teams. 

See the entire article here.  https://www.nfhs.org/articles/let-s-gain-new-appreciation-for-officials-during-down-time/