Athletic directors find difficulty in controlling abuse of game officials

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A recent high-profile incident involving a central Iowa coach and a game official highlighted a difficult challenge for area athletic directors.

A Center Point-Urbana player carries the ball (KCRG File)

A now-former assistant football coach at Lincoln High School in Des Moines coach turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday. Court documents say 44-year-old Jason Storm is facing harassment charges for telling an official he was going to kill him because he missed a call he believed his son was hit in the head.

“This is just a small snippet of what we’re seeing at the high school level,” Scott Kriegel, the Athletic Director for Center Point-Urbana High School, said. “It’s all over, and it isn’t going away.”

Kriegel said before each of his home games he tries to limit as much tension as possible by talking to fans who they have had issues with in the past, going over to the other team’s student section and even having the band play the other team’s fight song.

“I don’t know if that ultimately diffuses any animosity or helps in the big picture,” Kriegel said. “It certainly doesn’t hurt.”

“I’ve heard nothing in terms of what was said between coaches and officials,” Randy Krejci, Mississippi Valley Conference commissioner, said.

Kriegel said he wants to know more about what happened before the hit in question. An official himself, he believes the official did miss the call but wants to know what happened before the hit.

“In most instances, you will get some sort of warning,” Kriegel.

Kriegel said Center Point-Urbana is doing the right thing by starting conversations, but schools have also seen some effectiveness in broadcasting guidelines before the game.

“Making announcements about sportsmanship and how people should act is a growing trend at gymnasiums, schools and stadiums,” Kriegel said.

Kriegel said they see the most issues during the football and basketball season.