Athletics department focuses on sportsmanship

Game officials should be welcomed as guests to campus


Maddie Wirth

During the men’s varsity basketball game on Dec. 7 against Brebeuf Jesuit, an official prepares to hand the ball to senior Ryan Trusler.

Maddie Wirth , Reporter

With media coverage across the nation of parents behaving badly at high school games and schools finding it challenging to hire referees for those games, both the Indiana High School Athletic Association as well as this school’s athletics department is working to ensure such conduct does not take place here.

Athletics Director Mr. Rick Streiff said, “It’s one of (Cathedral’s) biggest pushes to make sure parents, fans and students are in line and treating officials with the utmost respect.”

For example, Mr. Anthony Ernst, who serves as the public address announcer for the women’s basketball games, makes announcements during the games in the Welch Activity Center reminding fans of what constitutes acceptable behavior at a game.

The ISHAA for several years has used a Face of Sportsmanship social media campaign to encourage fans to do the right thing and also has advertised on local sports talk radio providing listeners with information on how to become a license game official.

He and his team are in charge of hiring officials for regular season games and in-house tournaments. They budget a ballpark estimate of $35,000 a year for 27 different sport seasons to pay officials. Club sports like hockey, rugby and lacrosse are not Cathedral-funded.

Marion County athletic directors establish a pay scale each year to prevent an official from choosing one game or school over another in order to make a little more money.

The pay per sport varies across the board. Soccer charges $111 for both the junior varsity and varsity matches on a given day, where a Friday night regular season football game is $79. A freshman football game officials earns $60 for several hours of work, so it seems that clear that officials often are more motivated by the love of the sport and the service the provide rather than a big cash payout.

Other standards set by IHSAA include officials with any affiliation to a school participating in the contest may not officiate the event. For example, referees from the Columbus, Indiana area often are in charge of officiating Irish football to prevent any biases or connections.

This rule applied to staff that were IHSAA licensed officials that include Mr. Ken Kaufman, transportation employee, as he was an umpire, and Mr. David George, a bus driver, who has officiated both high school and college basketball.

Football Head Coach Mr. Bill Peebles ’88 chimed in on the conversation with Streiff and encouraged students “to get involved in the local area as a referee.”

Peebles continued that it is a “great gig for college students. Sign up and pick your hours where you can. Most games are at night or on the weekend when you’re not taking classes. What a great way to make money.”

Streiff said, “The IHSAA waives your initial fee to get licensed if you sign up within two years of graduating high school.”

In order to fend off negative reports from either a referee or high school, the IHSAA conducts surveys frequently to check in with both referees and their schools. Every five years, coaches rate their officials on a 1 to 5 scale, 5 being of State championship caliber

Streiff said he has been “well pleased” with the officiating this year, along with the school’s ability to hiring excellent game officials.