WAUKEE, Iowa — Dozens of Lincoln High School students hit the road to watch their Railsplitters take on Waukee Northwest Friday night. Their team lost, but not before a referee tossed the entire student section out of Northwest’s arena.

The livestreamed broadcast from Pardon My French Media captured the entire incident near the one-hour mark of the video. An official whistled to the Lincoln student section with about seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter, then seconds later whistled again and ejected every visiting student.

Lincoln High School principal Paul Williamson believes the students were tossed out too quickly by the officials. In a note published to social media by Lincoln High School, Williamson said in part:

The purpose of this statement is to not excuse the behavior of the student section. While we
regret the role that our students played in this incident, we wish we would have had an
opportunity to address the situation when called up to do so.

Paul Williamson, Lincoln High School Principal

Dave Rittman is president of the Des Moines Officials Association, which represents all amateur officials in the Des Moines metro. He said other officials told him that the ejection of the student section was warranted.

“From the word that I received, the student body was subjecting the officiating crew and even some of the opposing players to foul language, abusive language, profanity,” Rittman said. “The officials basically stopped the game and asked the administrators from Lincoln to deal with the fan behavior. It happened two or three times, and it continued, and the officials, from what I understood, were going to remove the perpetrators.”

Rittman worries incidents like this will deplete an already thin pool of amateur officials in the state. He said many new officials quit in their first or second year mainly because of bad fan behavior.

“There’s no place for that in sport, and that’s been the message that’s been delivered consistently over the past few years,” Rittman said.