Enough was enough for a high school basketball game’s public address announcer, who let fans know exactly what he was thinking about their criticisms of the officiating.
Sharp comments made by the announcer came during a game on Saturday, Jan. 28, between Brookfield Central and Cedarburg held at Germantown High School in Wisconsin.
With Cedarburg ahead 77-76 in the closing seconds, a player for Brookfield Central tried to heave up a desperation shot, but appeared to be fouled as time expired.
As the referees attempted to sort out the last-second call, fans could be heard shouting at the officials. That’s when the PA announcer took the microphone and gave a message to the fans.
“I would like to take this opportunity to remind all fans, and I should’ve done this a lot earlier, shut up!” the announcer said, according to video shared on Twitter. “The WIAA (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association) is always looking for officials, and since you do such a good job from the stands, get on the floor, wear a striped shirt and do it yourselves.”
The announcer had enough of the parents foolishness! The Refs didn’t even call anything yet! pic.twitter.com/xIQr6xIPaR
— Joe Chapman (@joechap32) January 28, 2023
Joe Chapman, who shared the video, said a foul was issued on the shot and the Cedarburg head coach was also assessed a technical foul for running on the court.
But Brookfield Central missed the four free throws, a fan said, leading to the one-point win for Cedarburg.
More than one million people have watched the video on Twitter as of Monday afternoon. Many said the announcer was out of line.
“I find him unprofessional. I’m a parent who has sat through too many games where the refs just wouldn’t make fair calls, blatantly obvious at times,” one person said. “If they called games fairly, MOST parents wouldn’t have these volatile ‘fed up’ reactions.”
“It is not the announcer’s job to control the crowd. This is very unprofessional,” another Twitter user said. “School administrators should control the crowd first. Secondly it is the officials’ responsibility. I’ve done high school PA for over 20 years and there is no way this is appropriate.”
Others have defended the public address announcer and the referees, saying “bad calls happen.”
If you’d like to take the announcer’s suggestion and apply to be a referee, WIAA officiating jobs are available.
The National Federation of State High School Associations said in February 2022 there have been about 50,000 people who have “discontinued their service as high school officials since the 2018-19 season.”
“In talking to some of the state directors, many of these losses are people who were probably on the brink of retirement, and then COVID kind of forced the issue,” said Dana Pappas, the director of officiating services for the NFHS. “Nationally, we’ve gone from about 240,000 to 200,000, which has become an area of concern for states just to cover games at all or with the maximum number of officials on a crew.”
The shortage includes Wisconsin, which had 9,249 licensed officials in the 2019-20 school year, according to WDJT. The number decreased to 6,071 two years later.
“The bad behavior being exhibited towards officials has never been worse,” Barry Mano, the founder and president of the National Association of Sports Officials, told WDJT. “That is driving men, women and young people out of the ranks.”