Administration handicaps student section’s role

Inconsistencies in rule enforcement limit the student section’s ability to support their team disproportionately to other schools.


Some people may look at our basketball student section and see a bunch of rowdy, unruly kids with no sympathy or manners, but to us, it is a family. High school sports are unlike professional or college sports because the players we’re cheering for are the kids we grew up sitting in class with and passing by in hallways for years. These are our friends, neighbors, and classmates. The mutual sense of camaraderie for our team and the instinct to support and protect each other is why we show up to games. The administration’s recent efforts to quiet the student section are outrageous. From threatening to kick students out of games for yelling, to actually removing a student for a harmless comment, the administration has failed to allow the student section to play their role in the game. 

The Arkansas Athletics Association (AAA)’s rules for spectators are vague and leave too much room for varying interpretations. Our school is the only school taking such a strict approach. The administration needs to focus on encouraging good sportsmanship rather than being so passive aggressive and creating a bad environment at games. There are major inconsistencies in the way rules are enforced and which rules are even enforced at all. At the Bentonville game, for example, the student section had a megaphone, which goes against the AAA’s rules, but when students held up signs at the Northside game, the signs were confiscated and ripped to shreds in front of the students’ faces. Additionally, students are being recruited and transferred to different high schools for their sports teams, which is against the AAA’s rules. These private rules must be enforced equally to the public rules. The administration must enforce AAA rules with transfers and their parents just as strictly as they do the student section. If all the rules were being enforced equally at every school, we would not have a problem with our administration. This, however, is not the case. 

The administration is not only creating a bad environment in the student section, but they are also handicapping their ability to contribute to the game. The student section has the power to change the game for the home team. The student section’s excitement is what motivates players, and taking that away is detrimental to the game. Players know the difference between personal attacks and healthy competition; the administration needs to make an effort to do the same. 

The administration needs to make an adjustment to the way they treat the student section. Their priority should be to cultivate good sportsmanship and ensure the safety of players and spectators. They need to recognize the efforts we’ve made to create a good culture in our student section, rather than hounding us on rules that are irrelevant to other schools. Instead of allowing inconsistencies in the way student sections are supervised, the expectations for student sections and spectators should be set by the administration of the home team’s school. School’s playing at our court should be held to the same standard as us, and vice versa. The disproportionate treatment of our students as compared to other schools is unacceptable and is preventing the student section from reaching their full potential as an asset to the team.