Ejections of prep players, coaches are on the rise; NC athletic officials are concerned

The N.C. High School Athletic Association Board of Directors expressed concern Tuesday about the fast-rising number of athlete and coach ejections from sporting events.

NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said the number of ejections has nearly doubled over the past four years.

“It’s important for us to look at that issue,” Tucker said.

She said she is troubled by some of the reports she has received from officials about coaches’ behavior.

“If you could see some of the (reports about) the language being used by our coaches ...” Tucker said, her voice trailing off.

Chad Duncan, director of athletics for Gaston County Schools, said while the problem is growing, it’s not seen in all sports.

“There’s a general lack of respect being shown in many of these cases,” said Duncan, chair of the NCHSAA board’s Review and Officiating Committee.

Two bright spots, Duncan said, are in lacrosse and girls’ softball, where the number of ejections has dropped.

NCHSAA directors also discussed spectator behavior during Tuesday’s meeting.

They delayed a decision on having basketball referees wear body cameras, saying they want to look for possible ways of funding the technology.

And they learned that adding a 365-day ban from sporting events for unruly spectators won’t be necessary — because it’s already part of NCHSAA policy.

Duncan said strengthening the wording in the NCHSAA manual could take care of the problem.

Brian Carver, a board member and athletics director at Enka High School, said something must be done about spectators who don’t follow the rules.

“We’ve had six incidents in which a fan left the stands and confronted an official,” he said.

In other business, the NCHSAA directors:

Delayed deciding on a proposal to delay the start and finish of the spring sports season. Under the proposal, regular-season spring sports contests would not begin before March 3 and could end a week later than teams do now.

Supporters of the idea said it will help spring sports athletes in the mountains, where the weather can be quite cold in February and early March. Opponents said pushing back the playoffs would conflict with high school graduations.

“We’ve been through this issue before,” Tucker said, noting that concern about conflicts with graduation resulted in the spring sports season being moved forward a few years ago.

The board decided to survey its membership and then possibly reconsider the idea.

Turned down a proposal to tinker with the RPI system, used to determine seeding for postseason playoffs. The Rocky River 2A-3A Conference had made the request, asking that more value be given to teams’ victories, and less to how a team’s opponents fare in their games.

Expressed support about the new format used this season for basketball regional and state playoffs. For the first time, the NCHSAA used a Final Four format, with regionals and championship games played on the same week at the same site (Wake Forest). Board members expressed support to repeating the format next season.