An analysis of the factors impacting win percentage and change in win percentage in women’s Division 1 college lacrosse

Authors: Christiana E. Hilmer1

1Department of Economics, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Corresponding Author:

Christiana Hilmer, PhD
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-4485
chilmer@sdsu.edu
619-301-9388

Christiana E. Hilmer, PhD, is a Professor of Economics at San Diego State University in San Diego, CA. Her research interests include the economics of sports, applied econometrics, labor economics, and resource and environmental economics.

An analysis of the factors impacting win percentage and change in win percentage in women’s Division 1 college lacrosse

ABSTRACT

What factors in women’s NCAA Division 1 college lacrosse led to an increase in win percentage in a single season and a change in win percentage across two consecutive seasons? Do these factors differ between teams at the top and the bottom ends of the win distributions? Using data from the 2023 and 2022 lacrosse seasons, we find that goals, assists, unassisted goals, and participation in the NCAA Championship tournament have a positive impact on win percentage, while opponent’s goals and if the team was new in 2023 have a negative impact on win percentage. The most crucial factor that explains the change in win percentage between the 2022 and 2023 lacrosse seasons is an improvement in the change in total shots ratio, while changes in attacking efficiency and defending efficiency are also important, all together explaining 58% of the variation. Teams at the bottom of the distributions have similar characteristics for both win percentage and change in win percentage as those teams in the middle and the top of the distributions, although there are some slight differences in the magnitudes of the statistically significant variables. These results suggest that lacrosse players and coaches should focus on obtaining additional goals and assists while concurrently minimizing the opponent’s goals to increase win percentage and changes in win percentage.

Keywords: distributional impacts, quantile regression, women’s college lacrosse

INTRODUCTION

Since the advent of sabermetrics pioneered by Bill James and the popularity of Lewis’s (5) Moneyball, the use of statistics to analyze sports has exploded in popularity. Reep and Benjamin (7) applied statistical analysis to team-wide factors in soccer where they investigated how the passing skill and position of a player on the field impacts goals. When analyzing a team’s performance, it is essential to determine which factors lead to a team’s success. Most research in this field has focused on professional sports. Busca et al. (1) examine eleven high-stakes international soccer tournaments to determine where a penalty kick is most likely to be struck. Pelechrinis and Winston (6) develop a framework that is comprised of publicly available data to determine the expected contribution of an individual professional soccer player to the probability of his team winning the game. Alberti et. al. (1) examine goal-scoring patterns in four different professional soccer leagues and find that the majority of goals are scored in the second half of the game with the most goals being scored in the last fifteen minutes of play. Castellano et. al. (3) analyze professional soccer match statistics to determine which factors impact winning, drawing, and losing a game and find that shots, shots on goal, and ball possession are important on the offensive end of the field, while total shots received and shots on target received are important on the defensive end of the field. A notable departure from research that focuses on professional soccer is Joslyn et al. (4), who examines the factors that improve the change in win percentage in men’s Division 1 (D1) college soccer. They find that improving shots, attacking, and defending positively impact the change in win percentage between two consecutive seasons.

This research utilizes the tools found in the team-focused literature from soccer and extends it to lacrosse. Soccer and lacrosse have many similarities, especially regarding possession, assists, goals, and defense. There are also marked differences between the two sports in addition to the obvious one: in soccer the ball is kicked while in lacrosse the ball is played with a net attached to a stick. Lacrosse is a higher-scoring game due to the presence of a 90-second shot clock and defending a women’s lacrosse player is more difficult in lacrosse than it is in soccer. One reason for this is that in lacrosse it is a foul to “move into the path of an opponent without giving the opponent a chance to stop or change direction, and causing contact” (page 51, 2022 and 2023 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Rules Book (6)), while there is no such rule in soccer. Another reason is due to a rule in women’s lacrosse called shooting space (page 54, NCAA 2022 and 2023 Women’s Lacrosse Rules Book (6)), which states that “with any part of one’s body, guarding the goal outside or inside the goal circle so as to obstruct the free space to goal, between the ball and the goal circle, which denies the attack the opportunity to shoot safely and encourages shooting at a player” while soccer does not have a comparable rule. According to NCAA Statistics (7), the average number of goals per game scored in D1 women’s college lacrosse in 2023 was 12, while the average number of goals per game scored in D1 women’s college soccer in 2023 was 1.39. Another notable difference between lacrosse and soccer is that the offside rules are very different. The offsides rule in lacrosse states that there must be at least five defenders behind their defensive restraining line and at least four offensive players behind their offensive restraining line (page 61, NCAA 2022 and 2023 Women’s Lacrosse Rules Book (6)). The offsides rule in soccer is much less stringent and it states that when in the opponent’s half of the field “the player is not closer to the opponent’s end line than at least two opponents” (page 52, NCAA 2022 and 2023 Soccer Rules Book (7)). These disparities between lacrosse and soccer may result in differences in which factors impact win percentages and changes in win percentages.

This research examines which factors lead to an increase in win percentage and change in win percentage for women’s Division 1 college lacrosse teams. We also seek to determine if these factors differ among teams in the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles for win percentage and the change in win percentage. Using data from the 2023 women’s D1 college lacrosse season, we explain 86% of the variation in win percentage. Goals, unassisted goals, and participation in the NCAA Championship tournament have a statistically significant positive impact on win percentage, while opponent’s goals and if the team was new in 2023 have a statistically significant negative impact on win percentage. The most crucial factor explaining the change in win percentage between the 2022 and 2023 lacrosse seasons is an improvement in the change in total shots ratio, while changes in attacking efficiency and defending efficiency are also statistically significant, all together explaining 58% of the variation. The variables that explain both win percentage in a single season and the change in win percentage between seasons are similar between the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles. This suggests that teams at the bottom of the distributions should focus on the same factors as those at the top when they seek to improve during a season and between seasons.

METHODS

Data Source
Win percentage was collected from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) archives for the 2023 and 2022 seasons. A win was awarded one point while a loss was awarded zero points. Offensive and defensive statistics for the 2023 and 2022 seasons were collected from each University’s women’s lacrosse website housed in the season’s cumulative statistics. It is important to note that these data are provided by individual institutions and therefore the statistical findings of this research is dependent on the accuracy of the information provided by each school. In addition to winning percentage, data was collected on goals, assists, shots, opponent’s goals, opponent’s shots, unassisted goals, ground balls, turnovers, caused turnovers, draw controls, whether the team was new to NCAA D1 lacrosse in the 2023 season, and if the team made the NCAA Championship tournament in 2023. Of the 126 D1 women’s lacrosse teams, 123 had information on every variable listed above.

Variables and Distributions

This analysis aims to determine what factors impact a single season winning percentage and which factors impact the change in win percentage across two consecutive seasons. Figure 1 is a histogram of win percentage for the 2023 women’s lacrosse season. The average win percentage was close to 50% at 48.27%; the minimum win percentage was 0 for the two teams that lost every game during the season, while the maximum win percentage was from a team that won 95.65% of their games. The team with the second-highest win percentage won the 2023 NCAA National Championship tournament.


Summary statistics for the 2023 D1 women’s lacrosse 2023 season are found in table 1. The average number of goals and opponent’s goals nearly offset each other at 211 and 210, respectively. There was an average of 495 shots with a large standard deviation of 105. Below half the goals were aided by an average of 92 assists, while over half of the goals resulted from an average of 119 unassisted goals. There were nearly twice as many turnovers as there were caused turnovers, 7% or a total of 8 teams were new D1 lacrosse teams in 2023, and 24% of the D1 lacrosse teams made the NCAA end-of-season tournament.


Figure 2 contains a histogram of win percentage change, which is constructed by taking the win percentage in the 2023 lacrosse season and subtracting the win percentage in the 2022 lacrosse season. There are fewer observations in the change in win percentage because the seven teams who were new in the 2023 season did not have any statistics for the 2022 season. On average, most teams had a similar win percentage in 2023 as they did in 2022, with an average change in the win percentage of .16. The team with the lowest change in win percentage between the two seasons of -51.47 had a win percentage of 75% in 2022, dropping to 24% in 2023. At the other end of the spectrum, the team with the highest change in win percentage won 12% of their games in 2022 and improved to winning 50% of their games in 2023.

Following Joyce et al. (4), we construct three measures of team success to explain the change in winning percentage: total shots ratio, attaching scoring efficiency, and defending scoring efficiency. The first measure, total shots ratio, is constructed as

The total shots ratio in both 2022 and 2023 is .5, which means, on average, teams are matching their opponent’s shots with their own shots with a range in values from .23 to .7 in 2023 and .3 to .63 in 2022.  This finding for lacrosse compares favorably to what Joyce et al. (4) found for D1 college soccer, where the total shots ratio ranged from .24 to .69 in D1 men’s soccer.

            The second measure of team success is attacking scoring efficiently or goals to shots ratio.

The average attaching scoring efficiency for 2023 and 2022 was .42. This measure had a relatively smaller variability than the total shots ratio, with a minimum of around .3 for both years and a maximum of .5 in 2023 to .58 in 2023. This maximum means that the teams with the highest attacking scoring efficiency earn an average of one goal for every two shots. Being able to convert shots into goals is an essential aspect of winning games. Lacrosse teams are much more likely to convert shots into goals, as Joyce et al. (4) found an average attacking scoring efficiency of .1 or 1 goal for every ten shots in D1 men’s soccer.

The third measure of team success is the defending scoring efficiency, which is contracted as

This final measure determines if teams can prevent opponents from turning shots into goals. The average values for defending scoring efficiency are slightly higher than attaching scoring efficiency, with an average of .43 in 2023 and .44 in 2022. The variability is higher for defending scoring efficiency than attacking scoring efficiency, with a minimum of .31 in 2023 and .34 in 2022 and a maximum of .66 in 2023 and .77 in 2022. Teams that are better at preventing shots from being converted into goals typically have a higher win percentage.

Regression Model
The first step in our regression analysis is to empirically estimate the degree to which offensive and defensive statistics impact the win percentage for the 2023 lacrosse season. The win percentage regression model takes the form:

where  is the error term and i is the individual women’s lacrosse team.  This model is estimated using ordinary least squares to obtain the average marginal impact of each of the 11 variables, as well as using quantile regression at the 50th, 25th, and the 75th percentiles of the win percentage.  Quantile regression is a statistical method that estimates the association between the explanatory variables for a conditional quantile of the dependent variable, see Walmann (8) for a more detailed explanation.  In this application, we use quantile regression to determine if teams at the lower end of the win percentage distributions display different characteristics than those at the median and the top end of the distributions.

            The second part of the analysis follows Joyce et. al. (4) to determine what factors impact the change in win percentage between the 2023 and 2022 lacrosse seasons.  The regression model is as follows

where ε_i is the error term and i is the individual women’s lacrosse team. As with the individual season analysis, this model is estimated using ordinary linear regression and quantile regression at the 50th, 25th, and 75th percentiles.

RESULTS

Table 3 contains the results for the estimation of equation (4) from the 2023 lacrosse season with robust standard errors in parentheses. Looking first at the results from the ordinary least squares model, 86% of the variation in win percentage is explained by the 11 independent variables. Turning to the variables that are statistically significant, each additional goal results in an increase of .18 in win percentage, while each opponent’s goal results in a decrease of .2 in win percentage, with goals and opponent’s goals nearly offsetting each other. On average, one additional unassisted goal results in an increase of .13 in win percentage. Being a new D1 women’s lacrosse team in 2023 results in a 9 point marginally statistically significant decrease in win percentage relative to teams that have been in the league in previous years. This result suggests that new D1 teams have a difficult time navigating their first year likely due to players and coaches lacking experience and chemistry, making obtaining wins more difficult. Women’s lacrosse teams who participated in the 2023 NCAA Championship Tournament have a statistically significant almost 5 point higher win percentage than those who did not participate in the tournament. This finding is not surprising given that the two ways to get a team into the tournament are to either receive an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament or earn an at-large bid by having a compelling enough record during the regular season and conference playoffs.


The last three columns of table 3 contain quantile regression results at the 50th, 25th, and 75th percentiles of the win percentage distribution. Opponent’s goals are the only statistically significant factor to explain wins across all three percentiles. The magnitude of opponent’s goals is largest at the 25th percentile at -.24 and is -.20 for both the 50th and 75th percentile. Teams at the 25th and 50th percentiles of the win percentage distribution that participates in the NCAA end-of-season tournament has a statistically significant 7 point and 6 point higher win percentage, respectively, relative to those who did not participate, while this variable is not statistically significant at the 75th percentile. This may be because most, 73%, of the tournament participants come from the teams at the top 25% of the win percentage distribution, while most teams at the middle and bottom of the distribution did not participate in the tournament. Aside from this difference, the results are similar between the models at the three points in the win percentage distribution.

Table 4 contains the second part of the regression analysis which estimates equation (5) that attempts to determine what factors impact the change in win percentage between the 2023 and 2022 seasons. The variables contained in this analysis mimic those in Joyce et. al. (4) for men’s D1 college soccer. Looking at the OLS results, teams that had a one unit increase in the change in total shots ratio between the two seasons had a 2.4 increase in the change in win percentage. Teams with a 1 unit increase in the change in attacking efficiency had a 1 unit increase in the change in win percentage, and teams with a one unit increase in the change in defending efficiency decreased the change in win percentage by 1.2 points. The statistical significance between these lacrosse results and those found for soccer by Joslyn et al. (4) are identical, suggesting that even though there are many differences between the two sports, the same factors are important in explaining the change in win percentage between consecutive years. Comparing magnitudes between the two applications is not possible because the estimation methods differed. The statistical significance of the variables included in the quantile regression evaluated at the 50th, 25th, and 75th percentiles were the same as in the OLS regression. The quantile regression performed at the 25th percentile of the change in win percentage had the highest impact for the change in total shots ratio and the change in attacking efficiency, while the change in defending efficiency had the smallest impact. The change in total shots ratio and the change in attacking efficiency had the smallest impact for those teams at the 75th percentile, while the change in defending efficiency had the largest impact for those teams at the 50th percentile. These results suggest that the factors that impact the change in win percentage are similar across teams at the bottom and the top of the change in win percentage distribution, although the marginal impacts differed slightly between the percentiles.

Discussion

It is not surprising that additional goals led to an increase in win percentage and an increase in opponent’s goals led to a decrease in win percentage. However, it was unanticipated that many of the other offensive and defensive statistics included in the regression were not statistically significant. It is likely that these other factors either lead to the team’s ability to score goals, such as shots, ground balls, and caused turnovers, or lead to the opponent’s goals, such as turnovers. One drawback of this research is that it does not investigate how these other factors impact goals and opponent’s goals. One adage in lacrosse is “win the draw, win the game.” Even though draw controls are not statistically significant in explaining win percentage, there was no information contained in the box scores on how many goals were obtained when the team won the draw control or how many goals were conceded when the team lost the draw control. More detailed information would be needed to investigate this relationship further. Other factors that likely explain win percentage and changes in win percentage such as team chemistry, the presence of a star player, the experience of the players and the coaches, and how different game management strategies, such as the usage of substitutes and quickness of play, are not included because they are difficult to measure, not included in the box scores, or both.

For a lacrosse coach or lacrosse player who is looking to improve win percentage between seasons, it is comforting to note that focusing on improving the changes in total shots ratio, attacking scoring efficiency, and becoming better at defending by decreasing the opponent’s goal-to-shot ratio will lead to an increase in the change in win percentage. One major drawback of this research is that it does not point to the factors that cause improvements in these variables and how they feed into additional goals or fewer conceded goals.

CONCLUSIONS

This study is the first to analyze which factors impact win percentage and changes in win percentage for NCAA D1 women’s lacrosse. The regression results suggest that goals, unassisted goals, and those who competed in the NCAA tournament had a positive impact on win percentage, while opponent’s goals and teams that were new in 2023 had a negative impact on win percentage. These factors were similar across the distribution of win percentage at the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles. Changes in win percentage between the 2023 and 2022 seasons are positively impacted by the change in the total shots ratio and attacking scoring efficiency and negatively impacted by the change in defending scoring efficiency. Even though there are many differences between lacrosse and soccer, the findings of this research and those of Joyce et. al. (4) that focus on college soccer suggest that the factors that explain changes in win percentage are similar between the two sports. These results also suggest that the statistics that explain win percentage and change in win percentage are similar between teams at the bottom, at the middle, and at the top of the distributions.

Applications In Sport

Women’s lacrosse programs at the collegiate level as well as at the national level can use these results to determine which factors to focus on when attempting to improve their win percentage within a specific year or over the course of several years. This research suggests that teams should emphasize their efforts in practice and in games on factors that increase goals as well as those factors that prevent goals. The lack of empirical analysis at the collegiate level, especially for women’s sports, can be rectified using available data. Additional publicly available information would make individual game analysis more informative such as how winning a draw control impacts goals as well as how focusing on specific factors such as caused turnovers or increasing assists increases goals and therefore positively impacts a team’s chances of winning.

REFERENCES

  1. (1) Alberti, G., Iaia, F. M., Arcelli, E., Cavaggioni, L., Rampinini, E. (2013). Goal scoring patterns in major European soccer leagues. Sport Sciences for Heath, 9(3), 151-153.
  2. (2) Buscà, B., Hileno, R., Nadal, B., & Serna, J. (2022). Prediction of the penalty kick direction in men’s soccer. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 22(4), 571–582.
  3. (3) Castellano, J., Casamichana, D., Penas, C. (2012). The use of match statistics that discriminate between successful and unsuccessful soccer teams, Journal of Hunan Kinetics, 31, 137-147.
  4. (4) Joslyn, M.R., Joslyn, N. J. & Joslyn, M. R. (2017). What delivers an improved season in men’s college soccer? The relative effects of shots, attacking and defending scoring efficiency on year-to-year change in season win percentage. The Sport Journal, 24, 1-12.
  5. (5) Lewis, M. (2004). Moneyball: The art of winning an unfair game. WW Norton & Company.
  6. (6) NCAA 2022 and 2023 Women’s Lacrosse Rule Book. https://www.usalacrosse.com/sites/default/files/documents/Rules/WLC23.pdf
  7. (7) NCAA 2022 and 2022 Soccer Rules Book. https://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/SO23.pdf
  8. (8) NCAA Statistics, Women’s Lacrosse and Women’s Soccer http://stats.ncaa.org/rankings/conference_trends
  9. (9) Pelechrinis, K., & Winston, W. (2021). A Skellam regression model for quantifying positional value in soccer. Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, 17(3), 187–201.
  10. (10) Reep, C., & Benjamin, B. (1968). Skill and chance in association football. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (General), 131(4), 581-585.
  11. (11) Waldmann E. (2018). Quantile regression: A short story on how and why. Statistical Modelling. 18(3-4): 203-218.
2024-04-01T07:01:38-05:00March 22nd, 2024|General, Research, Sport Training, Sports Management|Comments Off on An analysis of the factors impacting win percentage and change in win percentage in women’s Division 1 college lacrosse

The Real Cause of Losing Sports Officials

Authors: Matthew J Williams D.S.M., M.B.A. M.S.

Department of Education, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Wise, VA, USA

Corresponding Author:

Dr. Matthew Williams
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
2001 Greenbriar Drive
Bristol, VA 24202

Matthew J. Williams D.S.M., M.B.A., M.S., is an Associate Professor of Sport Management at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise. His areas of research interest include NASCAR, COVID-19, college athletics, professional sports, and sport management issues..

The Real Cause of Losing Sports Officials

ABSTRACT

Purpose

Recreational Sports, Junior Highschool Sports, and Highschool Sports are witnessing across all types of sports a decline in sports officials. Athletic directors in all three levels have seen a steadily declined in sports officials in the last twenty years. But since the COVID-19 Pandemic, the lack of sports officials has increased so rapidly that it could eventually become a nationwide crisis. The pandemic may have caused the decline of sports officials but it was not the only cause. The age of the sports officials has played a role in the decline of the sport’s officials. But the true main cause of losing sports officials has been the lack of respect for the sport’s officials through the behavior of players, coaches, family members, and sports fans.

Keywords Sports Officials, Players, Coaches, Fans, COVID-19 Pandemic, Respect.

Introduction

Recreational Sports, Junior High School Sports, and High School Sports are all witnessing a lack of sports officials all across the United States. There are so many theories out there on why we are losing sports officials so rapidly. If you have attended a sporting event lately and looked at the sports officials, a constant trend you will witness is the sports officials’ increasing ages and the lack of sports officials that are able to cover the sporting events. The repercussions of the lack of sports officials are already being felt. What is the true reason we are losing sports officials? Did COVID-19 Pandemic play a role in the loss of sports officials, the current age of sports officials, or the constant verbal abuse or threats to sports officials?

Discussion

Even before the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic Virus, it was apparent to recreational athletic directors, and athletic directors at both junior high and high school that they were already seeing a steady decline in sports officials across the United States over the past decade. The scarcity of officials is a long-running problem in high school sports. (6) From the 2018-19 school year to 2021-22, 32 of 38 states reporting statistics have seen registration numbers of officials drop, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations data. (1) Over the last decade, there has been a steady decline in the amount of referees available. In 2018, the Michigan High School Athletic Association reported that amount of referees available dropped from 12,400 to around 10,000 over the previous decade. (11)

The start of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the spring of 2020 forced a majority of recreational sports, junior high and high school sports across the United States to cease operations and shut down all games until further notice. This action of shutting down all games caused some officials to walk away from officiating. Simply because there were no games for the sports officials to work. As a result of the shutdown, officials had a chance to evaluate if they wanted to return to officiating. So many sports officials did not return to officiate games because of numerous reasons in the fall of 2020 or the spring of 2021. The Alabama High School Athletic Association is working hard to recruit and retain officials in all sports after losing more than 1,000 after the COVID-19 shutdown in the spring of 2020. (2) Washington said the association lost more than 1,100 officials after the COVID-19 shutdown. (2)

In the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, some of the COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions were lifted and sports returned to somewhat normalcy. However, some officials decided not to return to officiating simply because of their age. There is a concern by some the impact of COVID-19 might hasten the retirement of older officials. (8)

The average age of the sports official was between 45 and 60 and it played a major role in the sports officials’ decision either to continue to be sports officials or not to be a sports official. Officials tend to be near or beyond retirement age the median age for a football referee is 56, according to the National Association of Sports Officials survey. (6) 77% of current officials are over the age of 45, with slightly more than half over the age of 55. (12)

The average age of the sports officials was at least 45 or older during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The COVID-19 Pandemic forced some older sports officials to choose not to return to officiating because simply of the underlying healthcare issues from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some officials chose not to work during the pandemic because of health/safety concerns, and some of them chose not to return at all. (17) “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,” explains Dana Pappas, NFHS director of officiating services. (15) The pandemic has also pushed a growing number of referees out, with officials leaving out of fear of getting sick. (16)

During the fall of 2021, some governors across the United States mandated that state employees must be fully vaccinated to prevent and/or limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This mandate forced many officials to choose whether to get the COVID-19 vaccination or not get the COVID-19 vaccination. If the sport’s official chose not to take the COVID-19 vaccination due to fears of the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination or for religious beliefs, they would be banned from officiating junior high school and/or high school games. This mandate forced many officials to stop officiating resulting in a smaller pool of available officials to officiate games. “We already have a shortage of officials, not just in football but other sports,” Weber said”. “That (vaccine requirement) will reduce our numbers, based on what we’re hearing from our officials.” (3) The COVID-19 Pandemic resulted in some officials deciding not to return to officiating, creating an already smaller pool of available officials to officiate games. COVID-19 accelerated the problem, without question. (9)

Today’s parents are more invested financially than ever in their children’s sports careers. Parents are financially supporting their children’s sports careers through travel teams, summer leagues, specialized camps, personal training, and individual lessons. In the hopes that their child will either be drafted into professional sports or earn a college scholarship. Parents being so financially invested has caused an explosion of verbal abuse or threats toward officials from parents. Parents want the best outcomes for their children and are not afraid to voice their opinion to officials either by verbal abuse or threatening officials. Barrett theorized that the rise of travel teams in baseball —not to mention AAU teams in basketball and specialized camps for young football players — has caused parents to feel much more invested in their kids’ athletic careers, both financially and emotionally. (9) The parents feel more emboldened now than ever and are not afraid to voice their opinion verbally toward officials due to the fact they are so financially invested in their children’s sports careers. The parents feel strongly that they deserve the best officials to call the games because they have invested so much financially. “Parents have this sense of entitlement,” Barrett said. “They’re paying so much money, they think they should have better umpires.” (9) “These parents have this mentality of. ‘We pay all this money and travel all this way we expect the best, and referees can’t make mistakes.’ It’s based on society saying it’s okay to yell at people in public if they’re not giving you what they want. It’s asinine.” (13) “The problem is that, as parents spend more time and money on children’s sports, families are “coming to these sporting events with professional-level expectations,” said Jerry Reynolds, a professor of social work at Ball State University who studies the dynamics of youth sports and parent behavior. (7)

Aggressive behavior of abuse toward officials from coaches, players, parents, and fans started well before the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020. “Before COVID, I felt like this behavior was reaching its peak,” Barlow said. (13) The aggressive behavior toward officials did not stop after the COVID-19 Pandemic was over. But some feel that the abuse of officials has increased resulting in the loss of more officials. Society of today has now become a custom of unruly behavior toward officials, players, and fans. The old saying, I paid my general admission ticket, gives me the right to berate an official, an opposing player, or a coach. This mentality has allowed more aggressiveness toward officials. Parents, coaches, and fans are increasingly aggressive toward officials. (4) People have had seemingly free license to scream, taunt and hurl insults at sporting events — acting out in ways they never would at work, the grocery store, or the dentists office. (14)

Officials have had enough of this type of abusive behavior, which is a major reason why we are losing officials so quickly. No official wants to be verbally abused, harassed, or threatened. Such unruly behavior is the driving force, referees say, behind a nationwide shortage of youth sports officials. (7) We have had the problem of losing officials because of the lack of respect toward officials from parents, family members, and fans well before the COVID-19 Pandemic. The shortfall has persisted for years, as rowdy parents, coaches, and players have created a toxic environment that has driven referees away and hampered the recruitment of new ones, referees say. (7)

The coaches, athletes, parents, family members, and fans of today no longer value or demand sportsmanlike behavior. We now accept unsportsmanlike behavior. Which consists of disrespect or lack of respect for officials through verbal abuse, threats, or harassment. Because we are accepting and allowing this type of behavior from coaches, athletes, parents family members, and fans. This is one of the main reasons why we are losing so many sports officials. “The un-sportsman like conduct of coaches, as well as some parents put people off and they don’t want to come back, they don’t want to return. They get yelled at during their days at work,” added Gittelson. (5) The shortage of officials in high school – and middle school – sports has been a growing concern for several years – in large part due to unsportsmanlike behavior by parents and other adult fans. (10)

Conclusions

The lack of sports officials is becoming a critical situation that recreational athletic directors, junior high school, and high school athletic directors will be facing in the coming years. Some sports officials are deciding to retire because of their age or knowing that their bodies can no longer keep pace with the speed of the game that they are officiating. This is creating a smaller pool of officials from the standpoint that the average age of the sport’s official is at least 45.

The COVID-19 pandemic did play somewhat of a role in reducing of sports officials that we are in right now. The pandemic brought health scares and mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations to some sports officials resulting in these officials making the decision to not return to officiating. But the real cause of the shortage of sports officials is simply the respect that is not given to the sports official by coaches, parents, family members, and fans. The behavior from coaches, parents, family members, and fans of yelling at sports officials, questioning sports officials’ calls, threats of violence towards sports officials, cursing at sports events, and even battery towards sports officials is out of control. No sports official wants to deal with this type of behavior at all nor should this type of behavior be allowed. This is the main reason why we are seeing the pool of sports officials becoming smaller. State legislation, superintendents of schools, principals of schools, and county commissioners need to address this issue of out-of-control behavior toward sports officials. If they do not, we will witness games being canceled, cancellation of seasons, and drastic pay increases that will be demanded by sports officials for the abuse.

REFERENCES

  1. Aldam, W. (2022, July 30). Why number of high school officials is declining in Connecticut and what’s being done to fix it. Retrieved from CT Insider: https://www.ctinsider.com/gametimect/article/Why-number-of-high-school-officials-is-declining-17339698.php#:~:text=The%20primary%20contributing%20factor%20to,abuse%20from%20fans%20and%20coaches.%E2%80%9D
  2. Anonymous. (2022, August 16). AHSAA trying to replace more than 1,000 high school sports officials. Retrieved from Al.com: https://www.al.com/sports/2022/08/ahsaa-trying-to-replace-more-than-1000-high-school-sports-officials.html
  3. Arnold, G. C. (2021, September 21). Shortage of high school sports officials expected to worsen as Oregon’s vaccination mandate approaches. Retrieved from The Oregonian: https://www.oregonlive.com/highschoolsports/2021/09/shortage-of-high-school-sports-officials-expected-to-worsen-as-oregons-vaccination-mandate-approaches.html
  4. Davis Jr., M. A. (2021, November 5). No refs, no games: Can people play nice? Retrieved from The Christian Science Monitor: https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2021/1105/No-refs-no-games-Can-people-play-nice
  5. De La Fe, R. (2022, August 20). Nationwide referee shortage impacting hgh school and youth sports. Retrieved from CBS8: https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/local/nationwide-referee-shortage-impacting-high-schools/509-ce465d36-7a4a-419c-8671-a19711ca1cd9#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20National%20Federation,moved%20to%20Thursdays%20and%20Saturdays.
  6. Keilman, J. (2021, August 10). Friday night slights: referees, feeling unappreciated, underpaid and unnerved by COVID-19, are fleeing high school football and other youth sports. Retrieved from gmtoday: https://www.gmtoday.com/news/illinois/friday-night-slights-referees-feeling-unappreciated-underpaid-and-unnerved-by-covid-19-are-fleeing-high/article_bf377e00-010a-11ec-8f40-cf2c2f39f0d2.html
  7. Medina, E. (2022, April 21). Bad Behavior Drove a Referee Shortage. Covid Made It Worse. . Retrieved from New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/21/sports/referee-shortage-youth-sports.html
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  10. Niehoff, K. (2021, September 1). Poor Sportsmanship, Pandemic Contributing to Shortage of Officials . Retrieved from National Federation of State High School Associations: https://www.nfhs.org/articles/poor-sportsmanship-pandemic-contributing-to-shortage-of-officials/#:~:text=Poor%20Sportsmanship%2C%20Pandemic%20Contributing%20to%20Shortage%20of%20Officials,-By%20Dr.&text=As%20high%20schools%20begin%20a,to%20officiate%20all
  11. Purcell, J. (2022, January 10). High school referee shortage ‘as bad as it’s been’ as COVID-19 continues to impact Metro Detroit. Retrieved from Michigan Live: https://www.mlive.com/highschoolsports/2022/01/high-school-referee-shortage-as-bad-as-its-been-as-covid-19-continues-to-impact-metro-detroit.html
  12. Saunders, C. (2023, February 2). Shortage of local sports officials in ‘a crisis mode’. Retrieved from The Outer Banks Voice: https://www.outerbanksvoice.com/2023/02/02/shortage-of-local-sports-officials-in-a-crisis-mode/#:~:text=Local%20referees%20and%20officials%20say,dealing%20with%20increasingly%20bad%20behavior.
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  14. Stanmyre, M. (2022, March 29). It’s never been uglier on N.J. sports fields as bad behavior explodes. Retrieved from Nj.com: https://www.nj.com/sports/2022/03/its-never-been-uglier-on-nj-sports-fields-as-bad-behavior-explodes.html
  15. Thiede, D. (2022, August 18). SportsLife: Officials shortage impacting youth, high school sports. Retrieved from Kare 11: https://www.kare11.com/article/sports/local-sports/sportslife/sportslife-official-shortage-impacting-youth-high-school-sports/89-61bde5cf-6dcd-4d76-92e5-722bed0ac53a#:~:text=A%20recent%20survey%20by%20the,year%20unaffected%20by%20the%20pandemic.
  16. Voigt, K. (2021, December 5). Youth sports referees are quitting in droves due to a toxic combination of abuse from coaches and parents, low salaries, and COVID-19. Retrieved from iSport360: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwich4n_vKCAAxWqk2oFHfO2DF0QFnoECBMQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fisport360.com%2Fyouth-sports-referees-are-quitting-in-droves%2F&usg=AOvVaw0UL4DhXYHn35R0v1Ek0ISO&cshid=16899659
  17. Woelfel, R. (2022, July 15). Why is there a Shortage of Officials? Retrieved from Stack: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj5i_K_y6CAAxVBk2oFHUOkAAsQFnoECA0QAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.stack.com%2Fa%2Fwhy-is-there-a-shortage-of-officials%2F%23%3A~%3Atext%3DThe%2520Covid%252019%2520pandemic%2
2024-02-15T12:01:06-06:00February 16th, 2024|Contemporary Sports Issues, General, Sports Coaching, Sports Management, Sports Studies|Comments Off on The Real Cause of Losing Sports Officials

Relationships Between BMI and Self-Perception of Adequacy in and Enjoyment of Physical Activity in Youth Following a Physical Literacy Intervention

Authors: Brandi M. Eveland-Sayers1, Andy R. Dotterweich1, Alyson J. Chroust2, Abigail D. Daugherty3, and Kara L. Boynewicz4

1Department of Sport, Exercise, Recreation & Kinesiology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
2 Department of Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
3Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 
4Physical Therapy Program, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

Corresponding Author:
Andy R. Dotterweich
ETSU
Sport, Exercise, Recreation and Kinesiology
PO Box 70671
Johnson City, TN 37601
423-439-5261
dotterwa@etsu.edu

Brandi Eveland-Sayers is an Associate Professor of Exercise Science at East Tennessee State University. Her research interests include physical literacy, exercise adherence in youth, and long-term athlete development.

Andy R. Dotterweich is a Professor of Exercise Science at East Tennessee State University.  His research interests include youth sport, recreation management and policy, physical activity, long-term athlete development, and community development.

Alyson Chroust is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at East Tennessee State University. Her research interests include infant and child development and visual cognition. Abigail Daugherty is a graduate student in Sport Psychology and Motor Behavior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Her research interests include the fidelity of virtual reality in a military training environment and long-term athlete development. Her professional interests include becoming a mental resilience trainer-performance expert within a tactical population.

Kara Boynewicz is an Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy Department at East Tennessee State University.  She is a board certified pediatric physical therapy specialist with clinical experience of infants and children in a variety of settings including school, outpatient, and hospital.  Her research interests include early identification of children who are “at risk” for adverse childhood development, specifically in the realm of gross motor development and skill acquisition.

Relationships Between BMI and Self-Perception of Adequacy in and Enjoyment of Physical Activity in Youth Following a Physical Literacy Intervention 

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this research was to examine the relationships between body mass index (BMI) and self-perception of adequacy in and enjoyment of physical activity in youth following implementation of a six-week physical literacy (PL) intervention. Methods: Students (n=92) in grades 2-5 completed the Children’s Self-Perceptions of Adequacy and Predilection for Physical Activity (CSAPPA) scale pre- and post-PL intervention. The PL intervention program consisted of a weekly, 30-minute program conducted by trained individuals during the school day. This program focused on the mechanics of running, jumping, and throwing. Height and weight were measured pre-intervention to calculate BMI using the Center for Disease Control’s Youth and Teen calculator. Results: A significant interaction between CSAPPA score and BMI category was found, F(1, 82) = 4.948, p < 0.05). Students in the abnormal BMI category post-PL intervention CSAPPA scores were higher than their pre-PL scores. Conclusion: Based on the results, PL programming seems favorable in improving self-perception of physical activity selection in children with abnormal BMIs. Previous research has shown that students who do not feel confident performing a task are less likely to participate. Following the trend of decreased exposure to physical activity during school, it is possible that students with unhealthy BMIs are not getting proper exposure to the mechanics of movement. This scenario may lead to less physical activity participation and increases in unhealthy BMI ranges. Applications in Sport Fitness and Health: By teaching children that they can move proficiently, children may increase self-perceptions of physical activity and make more active choices which may attenuate increasing BMI trends and lead to future sport participation.

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2022-03-10T08:44:47-06:00March 11th, 2022|General, Sports Health & Fitness|Comments Off on Relationships Between BMI and Self-Perception of Adequacy in and Enjoyment of Physical Activity in Youth Following a Physical Literacy Intervention

Controlled but Autonomous: An examination of autonomy deficit in the pursuit of practice in sport

Authors: Joar Svensson1 and Scott Barnicle2

1Department of Sport Science, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden
2College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

Corresponding Author:
Scott Barnicle, PhD, CMPC
WVU – College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences
375 Birch Street
Morgantown, WV, 26505
Scott.barnicle@mail.wvu.edu
207-751-7229

Joar Svensson is a graduate student in sport and exercise psychology at Halmstad University in Halmstad, Sweden. His primary research interest is in self-determination theory and is continuing to expand his research interests as part of his graduate work.

Scott Barnicle, PhD, CMPC, is the program coordinator and teaching assistant professor in the Sport and Exercise Psychology program at West Virginia University. His research interests are in the areas of sport enjoyment, applied mental skills training, and teaching methods in the field of sport and exercise psychology.

Controlled but Autonomous: An examination of autonomy deficit in the pursuit of practice in sport

ABSTRACT

Self-determination theory posits three basic psychological needs, competence, relatedness, and autonomy (6). Autonomy is defined as being the perceived origin or source of one’s own behavior (2). The limits of this perception have not yet been tested. The current study set out to investigate whether athletes could be controlled while still feeling autonomous. A questionnaire about level of control and perception of autonomy was created. Participants were recruited (N=39) and answered the questionnaire. Results indicated that level of control over the sport and autonomy was significantly negatively correlated whereas control over practice and autonomy had no significant correlation. Athletes in controlling sports could therefore need extra autonomy support to satisfy their needs. As no significant correlations were found between control over practice and autonomy, practice sessions could possibly be very controlling without any major ramifications. The factors influencing this relationship need further investigation in differing sports and populations.

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2020-11-20T15:34:34-06:00November 10th, 2020|General, Research|Comments Off on Controlled but Autonomous: An examination of autonomy deficit in the pursuit of practice in sport

Are NBA Players Paid to Perform in the Clutch?

Authors: Kevin Sigler

Corresponding Author:
Kevin Sigler, PhD
601 College Road
Department of Economics and Finance
Cameron School of Business
UNC Wilmington
Wilmington, NC 28403
siglerk@uncw.edu
910-200-2076

Kevin Sigler is Professor of Finance in the Cameron School of Business, UNC Wilmington

Are NBA Players Paid to Perform in the Clutch?

ABSTRACT

The star players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) are paid extremely well.  In the 2018-19 season there were 60 players in the NBA that were paid $17 million or more for their services.  Stephen Curry was the highest paid at $37.5 million (Table 1).  LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook tied for second at salaries of $35.7 million (1).  This study examines if the highest 60 paid NBA players are compensated for performing in the clutch.  The research finds that the pay for the sample of highly paid NBA players is related to their field goal percentage and to assists to other players during the last four minutes of close games when the score is within five points.  Their pay is tied significantly to field goal attempts in the last minute of close games as well.  It appears from the results that NBA organizations reward players who at the end of close games make shots, are able to handle the ball, and set up their teammates to score as well as be willing to take shots in the last minute of tightly contested games.

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2020-02-19T09:49:46-06:00February 28th, 2020|General|Comments Off on Are NBA Players Paid to Perform in the Clutch?
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