WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — There is a problem nationwide and here in Kansas, and that’s a lack of officials for sporting events.

Videos are all over social media of fans and parents coming out of the stands to confront officials and referees. Now, the state of Kansas is taking action.

USD 259 District Athletic Director Kaleb Stoppel isn’t afraid to pitch in when needed, and he is ready to do his part to end bad behavior at high school athletic events.

“We want to continue to show grace, and we want to help our stakeholders and our fans and grow to understand our expectation with sportsmanship,” Stoppel said. “However, the time has come where we need to now increase the level of accountability.”

Stoppel is referring to the “Bench Bad Behavior” campaign recently launched by the National Federation of State High School Associations, which was adopted by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

“It starts everywhere,” Stoppel said. “Sportsmanship starts with me. But it also starts with you, and it starts with everyone else involved. That goes for the official. The parents have to be a parent and nothing else. To the role of the coach to lead the team. Focus on the student-athlete and nothing else.”

Wichita South High School Athletic Director John Martin said it’s time to stand up for officials.

“Without officials, we don’t have games,” Martin said. “And if that bad behavior continues, less and less people want to be officials. And then we won’t be able to participate and use sports as an intervention to curb some of our youth troubles.”

A national survey of officials showed 55% said verbal abuse is the reason they quit. 59% don’t feel respected. 57% believe sportsmanship is getting worse. 84% say they’re treated unfairly by spectators.

The bottom line is that officials are quitting faster than new ones are signing up.

“I witnessed it at my son’s football game,” Martin said. “And oftentimes I have to squeeze my wife’s hand because I want to say something, but at the same time, I’m there as a spectator, not as administrator.”

Wichita South football coach Russ Wells said support is important in school sports.

“The athletic field is an extension of the classroom,” Wells said. “And kids in a classroom, they do best when they feel supported, when they feel cared for. And I think those same things carry over to the practice field. When you have a community, when you have a team, and you have a family.”

If you can’t be a good sport, Stoppel said you may not be around for the end of the game.

“Because I promise you, we will be part of the solution,” Stoppel said. “And we will find a solution to this because if we don’t, we can’t play, and that’s… that’s almost where we are right now.”