- Efficient management of interscholastic athletic contests, both at home and away, is an
increasingly important aspect of administering a high school athletic program. The
following recommendations have been assembled to assist schools in preparing adequately
for crowd control at athletic contests.
1. Pre-season and pre-game responsibilities are shared by both schools competing in any
2. Responsibilities during the game are shared by both schools with the home school
assuming the major role. A dual responsibility exists at a neutral site.
3. Post-game responsibilities are shared by school officials, local police, and the
citizens of the community.
4. Advance preparation of all details pertaining to athletic contests is necessary for
5. The coach is usually a stabilizing influence in an emotionally charged situation. In
the present social climate, the coach must always assume this important responsibility. No
person should be coaching who does not realize that the future of high school athletics is
more important than winning or losing a particular game.
PROCEDURES BEFORE THE GAME
1. Develop an operational plan for each home event.
2. Contact the visiting school as early as possible to arrange for a meeting or
telephone conversation to discuss the game, including prior and existing school/community
3. Discuss any situations peculiar to the stadium (or gym) and send a map of the
stadium to the visiting school.
4. Formulate plans which provide directions and instructions for all visiting personnel
regarding safest routes, parking, seating and dismissal from bleachers, and loading and
unloading buses and automobiles.
5. Have parking areas well lighted. Arrange for on-site parking of visitors autos
and buses. Arrange for bus parking so that the buses do not create a hiding place for
loiterers. Police should periodically patrol the bus parking area.
6. Have stadium or gym secure and all gates locked prior to the scheduled opening time.
7. Arrange for supervision to continue until after all visitors, including the team
bus, have left the area.
8. Prepare a supervision chart and inform assigned personnel of their duties before the
game. (Persons on duty from both schools should have some type of identification - shirts,
jackets, arm-bands, badges, etc.,).
9. Staff representatives should be informed of any court orders or other restrictions
placed on specific individuals limiting their presence at school events or school
10. All faculty members or other personnel helping supervise should be identifiable.
This can be done by special T-shirts, arm-bands, caps, etc. Easily recognized apparel that
will let people know that these individuals are on duty is highly recommended.
11. The host school must assign supervisors on the visiting side; their main duty is to
keep students from the home side from moving into the visitor section. They should assist
in overseeing the visiting students and fans only if absolutely needed. In this regard,
always designate specific seating for students, bands, adults, and visitors. Student
bodies and the respective spectator sections should be kept separated at all times.
12. Provide for adequate police supervision before, during, and after the game.
Be sure that there is police supervision both inside and outside at games.
Police should be assigned to known or likely trouble spots. Law enforcement
supervisors should make sure that officers do not congregate at one place or become
At a set time after the game starts, police should "sweep" the area
outside the stadium. Everyone should be inside or off the premises.
Provide escorts, preferably police, for game officials and visiting teams
before, and particularly after, the event.
Marked police vehicles at each vehicular access will serve as a deterrent and a
uniformed officer at the gate sends a message as to expected behavior.
Traffic control should be delegated to other than sworn-officers if possible.
Sworn officers should never be used for parking control. Service clubs and other
groups can perform this duty.
Make arrangements with local police departments at the highest level possible in
order that adequate police protection will be available to control the spectators at the
conclusion of the contest. Develop a plan of action in cooperation with the police for
measures to be taken in the event of trouble. Review prior and existing school/community
Arrange to divert traffic away from the athletic field or gym so that spectators
leaving the game can do so quickly.
Work with local police in providing "no parking" signs around the
stadium or gym, blocking off streets if needed and arranging for one-way traffic where
Give specific instructions concerning responsibilities to auxiliary police,
ushers, and faculty members hired by the school; designate someone to provide further
instructions and direction to paid auxiliary police, ushers, and faculty members at the
Develop a supervision chart for police coverage before, during, and after the
game. Police supervision of the parking areas during the game should not be
Suggest a suitable location to detain anyone arrested by the police until that
person(s) can be taken away with the least amount of confusion.
All security personnel should be readily identifiable by the public. Prevention,
not apprehension after trouble begins, should be emphasized.
Review the need for and the provision for metal detection equipment. If such
equipment is to be used, inform administrators of the visiting school prior to the day of
13. School employees may tend to no longer feel responsible when uniformed police or
other security personnel are present. This is incorrect. School officials have the
14. Depending on local conditions, you may wish to advise ticket sellers to screen for
troublemakers and group agitators. In some communities, it may be necessary to consider
the advisability of not admitting elementary and junior high students unless accompanied
15. Instruct the operator of the video taping equipment to record all incidents of
inappropriate behavior and to continue taping as teams depart the playing area after
conclusion of the contest. Contact the WVSSAC for specific video taping policy for
16. School personnel know and are known by potential troublemakers. The presence of a
staff person in the right place at the right time may well avoid a potential problem.
Staff members should know the limits of dealing with a situation personally and seek the
assistance of a police officer in any doubtful circumstances.
17. Have all special seating areas roped off prior to opening the gates. Use school
service club members (ROTC, student council, etc.,) for ushers and monitors of student
sections and make sure that these students are rehearsed in their duties.
18. Provide reserved seats for bands. The amount of time they will have for half-time
activities should be known to them and should be strictly observed.
19. Seat students from opposing schools in separate sections. Seating for home and
visiting spectators should be adequate. Spectators should remain on their side of the
field or gymnasium throughout the contest. Do not over-sell the facility. Admission
for WVSSAC tournament events cannot be included as part of season ticket sales. Keep
general admission spectators separate from student sections if possible.
20. Arrange for interested parents and patrons to assist with supervision of general
21. Check fire code for seating capacity and other recommendations.
22. Provide an escort to meet the visiting team when it arrives and to direct it to the
dressing quarters. A good-sized room, a blackboard and chalk, a training table, benches,
chairs, and drinking water should be provided. It may be necessary to ask opponents to
come dressed for the game if the visiting teams quarters are not adequate.
23. Provide security measures to protect visitors clothing and valuables while
the visitors are on the field or court. The playing field or court and the area
immediately adjacent to it at all athletic contests shall be restricted to team members,
coaches, managers, officials, and other parties necessary to conduct the game. Student of
faculty associates should wear something distinctive so that they may easily be
identified. Sufficient personnel should be provided by the host school to enforce this
regulation. The visiting school should see that this rule is enforced in its area. Schools
must bear a dual responsibility when playing at a neutral site.
24. Provide reserved parking for game officials and doctor/medical personnel. Arrange
for the game administrator to meet officials when they arrive and to escort them to their
25. Emphasize to game officials the importance of keeping the game under control.
26. Take care in the preparation, printing, and sale of athletic programs. Correct
names and numbers, major rule changes and interpretations, and statements concerning
spectator behavior have proven effective. The following message has been adopted by the
National Federation of State High School Associations and may be considered for inclusion
in the game programs and should be announced several times throughout the game during
breaks for time-outs, quarters, halves, etc.,
"These are high school athletes who are performing here tonight. They are friendly
rivals as members of opposing teams. They are not enemies."
"This basically is the theme of interscholastic athletics -- the idea of friendly
competition. The visiting team tonight, and in every interscholastic game, is a guest of
the home team. They are expected to be so regarded and so treated."
"The officials are individuals who, by agreement between competing teams, are
assigned to administer the rules of the game. Their experience and their integrity qualify
them for their part in this friendly interscholastic contest. This attitude of
sportsmanship should be reflected by all spectators, too, no matter what their personal
feelings of loyalty may be to one or the other of the teams in tonights
27. Arrange for adequate concessions as a service to spectators. If possible,
concession stands should be available on both sides of the stadium at football games.
28. Have a custodian check rest rooms for sanitation and supplies before game time and
between quarters. Separate rest rooms should be provided for visitors.
29. Check game facilities: Conditions on the field or court and areas throughout the
facilities being used by players and by spectators should be checked before the game for
hazards, cleanliness, and proper markings. Special attention should be given to the
position of fences and players benches.
30. Athletic trainers are required for all high school football contests. It is further
recommended that an athletic trainer or a physician be present at all other rugged-contact
athletic contests. If possible, an ambulance should be available. It should be brought on
the field only on request of the athletic trainer or physician. The home team athletic
trainer or physician may be made available to the visiting team if the visiting team does
not bring its own trainer or physician to the contest.
31. Have properly trained adult scorers and times for officials at games. The same
assistants should be used the entire season.
32. Assign a competent person to take charge of the scoreboard.
33. Post signs reminding spectators that West Virginia State Code 16-9A-4 prohibits
smoking on school property.
- Public Address Announcer
- Many individuals certainly play key roles and assume important responsibilities to
ensure the successful administration of an athletic event. One of these people is the
public address announcer because of the major contribution which he/she can make to set
the tone for the game, match, or meet which will proceed in the spirit of fair competition
and true sportsmanship.
1. Be organized and prepared. This item really speaks for itself, but the good PA
announcer will have announcements and forms prepared ahead of time to facilitate his or
her job. Being prepared simply means that PA personnel are better able to handle the
announcements for emergency situations as they arise.
2. Check that all equipment operates properly. There is more to be concerned with than
just a properly working microphone. Do not forget about tape and cassette players,
electronic message centers, and so forth. Often, announcements are to be synchronized with
songs or scripts, so ensuring that all equipment works properly will make for a quality
3. Be professional and unbiased. High school sport announcers should not imitate the
styles and antics of some college and/or professional PA personnel who draw attention to
themselves and away from the athletic contest.
4. Speak slowly, clearly, and distinctly always! Of these, "slowly" is most
important. Not only does the announcer need to be heard, he or she also must be easily
5. Say only what is necessary. Talking all the time and speaking constantly into the
microphone - especially with unnecessary comments and/or endless promotion - turns people
off and makes them not want to listen. People who "turn off" the announcer may
miss out on important, valuable, or emergency announcements.
6. Do not rush and do not panic on public service announcements or emergency
announcements. Public service announcements related to sportsmanship and PROJECT TARGET
and SPORTSMANSHIP are available from the WVSSAC office.
7. Do not attempt to do play-by-play.
8. Do not editorialize about or comment on any aspect of the game. The fastest and
easiest way for an announcer to lose all respect and credibility with everyone at the
contest (spectators, players, officials, coaches, and others) is to make a comment about
or react to a game situation or outcome. As with item seven, this is not the
announcers role or responsibility.
9. Be involved with the teams and the competition, not with yourself. Enjoy the
competitive atmosphere of the game, meet or match and become excited about the young
people who are performing. Do not become wrapped up in yourself and excited to hear
10. The announcer is not the entertainment. The spectators came to watch the game and
the players perform, to support the cheerleaders, to enjoy the band and its auxiliary
units, to congratulate the homecoming courts, to see their neighbors kids, to
observe special halftime activities - NOT TO LISTEN TO THE ANNOUNCER!
11. Give location of rest rooms, concessions, and lost-and-found station.
12. Before and during the game, announce the West Virginia State Code 16-9A-4
prohibits smoking on school property. Frequently remind spectators of this regulation.
1. Encourage and stimulate good feeling by playing visitors school fight songs
and other appropriate music.
2. Help in crowd control with music at the appropriate times.
3. Encourage band members to stay in small groups of at least three to five when they
are not performing at athletic contests.
4. Prior to the season, the guest band director should make a courtesy call to the host
band director and exchange information concerning:
a. Whether or not the guests are planning to attend.
b. The length of the half-time performance.
c. Number and location of seating required. Number of band parents or helpers
d. Whether or not there are any special events planned.
5. Host band officers should seek out and meet with the guest band officers sometime
during the contest for the purpose of promoting good will.
6. Provide faculty supervision for all pep or marching bands at all athletic contests.
1. Contact home school or neutral site manager to discuss game preparations and obtain
- a. safest route to and from stadium or gymnasium
- b. location of visitors parking area
- c. visitors entering and exit gate
- d. visitors seating area
- e. prior and existing school/community control problems
2. Consider transporting students by bus if there is inadequate parking at the stadium.
3. Student buses should have staff supervision.
4. Have adequate faculty and administrative supervision going to the game, at the game,
and after the game. Provide identification for school personnel.
5. Consider asking interested parents and patrons to help with supervision.
6. Provide information to students regarding travel, parking, entrance, seating, and
7. Check on amount of time allotted for band or other half-time activities and adhere
strictly to the time limit.
1. Provide opportunities for cultural exchange between student bodies through
2. Use assemblies to orient students to the importance of good conduct.
3. Ask student councils and cheer teams to help by planning campaigns for spectator
4. Plan assemblies to inform students about game rules, or issue a book of rules and
regulations so that everyone knows how to watch a game intelligently and knows what is
expected. Utilize physical education classes to instruct these activities and extend the
knowledge of the playing rules.
5. Any type of mascot shall be kept on the side of a schools cheering section.
6. Only the school banner, sportsmanship creed, and signs which display positive
connotations should be displayed and placed on the participants side of the field.
7. Be alert to prior and existing community or cross community control problems.
DURING THE GAME
1. Visiting school principal or representative should contact the site manager or
athletic director immediately upon arrival to discuss final details and to indicate seat
locations so that parties are available to each other.
2. Separate rest rooms and concession booths should be available.
3. Have adequate police, faculty, and patrons distributed among the students and other
spectators. Assign someone to help control spectator behavior in the vicinity of the
4. Spectators should not be allowed to leave and re-enter the site. This can result in
the smuggling of weapons, drugs, alcohol, etc., into the facility.
5. Prepare a plan for acquiring police back-up if necessary.
6. Meet faculty supervisors from the visiting school and acquaint them with their
7. Employ a walkie-talkie system, tied into the police department, if possible.
8. Check on supervision each quarter.
9. Keep lines of communication open to administrators from the visiting school and the
10. Assign a responsible adult, other than the coach, to help attend to injured players
and, if necessary, to accompany them to the hospital.
11. Provide supervision during half-time. Whether or not there is half-time
entertainment, supervision is necessary to help direct the crowd, keep spectators off the
playing area, and keep the area under the stands cleared.
12. Provide an escort with a key to the locker room for officials during half-time.
13. Maximum available lighting shall be utilized during any contest and shall not be
restricted to the area of competition.
AFTER THE GAME
1. Use public address system to give directions to students and spectators regarding
exit from the stands.
2. Provide police and faculty supervision until all students and spectators are well
dispersed. Permit no loitering.
3. Provide an escort with a key to the locker room for officials.
4. Arrange an area for press interviews.
5. Check supervision of all areas; provide continuous security for locker room area.
6. Assign someone to assist police in dispersing hangers-on who wait for the team after
7. Buses loaded with fans, band, and team should depart immediately after the game.
8. Administrators of both schools should confer before leaving to be sure that all
details have been covered.
9. When deemed necessary, have police escort officials to their cars and team and
spectators to buses to the city/town limits.
10. Letters of appreciation should be sent to the opposing school, coaches, officials,
and newspapers, if appropriate.
GUIDELINES FOR CHEERLEADERS
1. The host school cheerleaders should go to the visiting side and greet the visiting
cheerleaders. Cheerleaders should lead a cheer for the visitors section and follow
with a cheer for the home section. Cheerleading coaches, coaching staffs, and other game
management advisors should meet to discuss the importance of spectator and player
2. Cheerleaders functions are to make a positive contribution to good spectator
reaction at an athletic contest and to create better relations between opposing
3. Cheers should be positive and not aimed at antagonizing an opponent. Care should be
taken to make certain that words used in a cheer are not suggestive and do not have a
connotation which would inflame an audience.
4. Cheerleaders should remain silent when the opponents cheerleaders are cheering
and during free throws at basketball games.
5. Cheerleaders are expected to lead the cheer group in a round of applause for an
injured player leaving the game. Cheering is appropriate.
6. When "booing" occurs, the cheerleaders should attempt to stop it by
immediately starting a popular sideline cheer. Immediate action is the key to the control
7. Cheerleaders, properly trained, can be as important to the spectator behavior as the
coach is to his/her team.
8. Student bodies and teams will react as they are instructed, inspired, and led by
neat and well-poised cheerleaders.
1. Police/security should arrive in sufficient time before game starting time and
report to principal or his/her representative to request instructions, such as best
locations for observation, nearest phone, etc.,
2. During the game, officers should be requested to assist in controlling the
Non-students who may cause disturbances seated in student sections.
Any person appearing to be under the influence of alcohol and denied admission
to the event.
Any suspicious gathering of individuals in rest rooms, behind the stadium, in
parking areas, or elsewhere.
Loiterers should be asked to move on and crowds dispersed outside gym once game
is sold out.
1. Coaches influence not only the conduct of the players under their direction but also
that of the student spectators, parents of squad members, and interested citizens who
attend athletic contests. Since the coach is influential in setting the tone of conduct,
he/she shall be a role model for self-restraint, fair play, and sportsmanlike behavior.
2. In dealing with the officials, the coachs approach must be professional at all
times. The coach must exercise self-control and realize that the official sees through
impartial and unbiased eyes. Coaches must familiarize themselves with the proper procedure
for requesting a conference with an official.
3. Coaches shall never seek out an official during half-time or at the conclusion of a
4. The behavior of the coach must at all times be marked by dignity and self-control.
He/she should not, at any time, use provocative language or engage in any unsportsmanlike
actions or tactics. He/she must avoid any actions or remarks which would tend to incite
the displeasure of the spectators or provoke disorderly behavior.
5. If the coach, as a professional educator, cannot exercise emotional control under
stress, then such behavior cannot be expected from the young people on the team nor from
the heterogeneous combination of spectators in the stands.
6. The coach will immediately discipline any player who intimidates an official or
displays unsportsmanlike behavior.
7. Deliberate attempts to humiliate an opponent should not be tolerated by school
officials, e.g., running up the score. Coaches are encouraged to substitute whenever
possible especially when the outcome of the game has more or less been decided.
8. Opposing coaches must shake hands publicly and should ask players to shake
hands with opponents before or after the game and behave with courtesy at all times.
9. Coaches must be sensitive to situations such as athletes losing control of
themselves and must get potential troublemakers out of the game before difficulty begins.
Head coaches are responsible for the conduct of their entire staff.
10. Coaches who repeatedly conduct themselves in an unsportsmanlike manner shall be
subject to sanction by the WVSSAC.
- The less notice the player takes of the spectators and the more he concentrates on
his/her part in the game, the more absorbed the crowd will be and the less likely to
1. Players should refrain from showing surprise or irritation at a call of an official.
The officials ruling should be accepted with politeness.
2. "Playing to the crowd" can cause trouble particularly in basketball where
the players facial expressions are clearly visible to the bench and stands.
3. Unsportsmanlike gesturing or the harassing of an individual opponent should be
avoided and must not be condoned by the coaches.
4. Substitutes on the bench must not heckle the opposing team and should never enter
the playing field/court.
5. The relationship of players to each other before, during, and after the game affects
and helps establish crowd rapport.
1. Stories should be presented fairly and accurately.
2. Losses do not need to be explained or alibied.
3. Wins should not be overstressed.
4. Reporters have many opportunities to speak out for good sportsmanship.
5. Reporters should refrain from criticizing high school athletes in a school
1. Student councils can develop codes of sportsmanship.
2. Cheerleaders and bands can help promote good sportsmanship.
3. Sportsmanship rating forms are helpful.
4. Sportsmanship trophies can be given to encourage good conduct.
5. Pep boosters can promote better sportsmanship.
6. The pre-game atmosphere is improved if spectator participation is encouraged.
Standing and singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" is one opportunity for such
7. Handbooks on regulations dealing with crowd conduct are helpful.
8. Disorderly persons should be removed promptly.
9. Posters can be used to stress courtesy and sportsmanship.
10. Noisemakers and drunkenness should not be permitted.
11. Students should sit as a group.
- Students and adult spectators who have general knowledge of game rules and of
officials techniques and signals seldom cause disturbances at athletic contests.
1. Conduct pre-season meetings for athletes and parents. Invite members of the
community to also attend.
2. Post a copy of the crowd control policy in a conspicuous place in the gym and/or
3. When crowds are anticipated to be large, conduct a pre-game sale of tickets.
4. If prior circumstances indicate the possibility of problems, change the time of the
game to the afternoon.