Survey: 57% of referees say sportsmanship getting worse

December 13, 2017 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
A new survey conducted by the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) provides a glimpse into the minds of referees and some of the challenges they face on a regular basis.

Among the findings, 57% of officials said they believed sportsmanship is getting worse. More than 17,000 referees from various levels and sports participated in the survey, and the results were revealed at the 2017 NASO Sports Officiating Summit in November.

When it comes to the decline in sportsmanship, 39.3% of officials blamed parents and 29.5% pointed a finger at coaches. The NASO survey has a wealth of data that coaches and athletic administrators might find interesting. Here’s a sample of the findings:

  • 53.9% said coaches are responsible for improving sportsmanship.
  • 6.7% said they regretted a time when they ejected a coach from a game; 58.2% said they regretted a time when they didn’t eject a coach.
  • 64.1% said they have removed spectators for poor sportsmanship.
  • 70.5% said they believe officials are treated unfairly by coaches; 49.1% said they believe officials are treated unfairly by athletes.
  • 87% said they suffer verbal abuse.
  • 13% said they have been physically assaulted after a game, most often by fans.

That’s just a taste of what the NASO survey has to offer, and we encourage everyone to take a look at the library of results here.

It continues to be a difficult time for sports officials, especially at the high school level. More than a dozen states have complained that they’re having trouble recruiting new blood into the profession, and that puts pressure on officials to increase their workload.

Click here to read more about the NASO survey.

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