With the new NFHS Rule 4-48 concerning a warning to a head coach/bench personnel for misconduct, this article is a good barometer of where our tolerance levels should be with different people in the gym.

From Referee.com – September 13, 2017

Officials take different levels of abuse from different participants in the game. It is not realistic to have zero abuse tolerance. It happens and how you deal with it is important to overall game control.

Though each official draws individual boundaries of acceptance, the following “hierarchy of tolerance” shows how much, or little, you should tolerate from a segment of the game. For a detailed guide to handling tough situations, make sure to get the free download The Ultimate Guide To Managing With Coaches, Players & Fans.

The groups are listed in descending order from whom the officials should be most tolerant. Remember, no extreme unsportsmanlike conduct should be tolerated from any group.


Be more tolerant of fans than any other group. They paid their money to (in their mind) have the right to boo the officials. Never talk back to fans. Doing so only heightens their level of abuse. At higher levels of play, tolerate more from fans than you would at lower levels of play. For example, a fan using profanity at a youth game shouldn’t be tolerated. Fans using profanity at a pro football game will be tolerated by the officials because the officials ignore them. If a fan is using profanity or racially offensive terms to an opponent, have the fan removed from the premises immediately. There’s a proper method in doing so.

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