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Unsportsmanlike Coaching is Bad for the Game and Officials

By John R. Mathias, Iowa City Press-Citizen, 01/18/18, 12:00PM CST


Officials aren’t perfect. Mistakes happen. Most of the time officials will admit this through an honest, open and calm dialogue at the side of the court.

What has happened to sportsmanship and basic norms of civility in basketball? When we turn on our television or head to the local arena and see a college coach regularly explode at the officials, the scorer’s table and his own team, it’s important to consider the impact on the sport in general. High school coaches, youth coaches, players and fans are watching. The example being set is not good for the sport. As a local leader in officiating, I’m concerned about the future.

Sports officiating is at a dangerous point. The average age of a high school official is in his or her upper 50s. Fewer and fewer young people are willing to give it a try, and those who do often don’t stick it out for more than a couple of years.