Eastern Cincinnati Conference article

The Eastern Cincinnati Conference recognizes the partnership of There's More at Stake than a Game® and Milford Athletics! 

The article is pasted below along with the link.  


-Article by Kevin Dunnette

A lot has been written and discussed recently about the tremendous shortage of middle school and high school athletic officials. A number of reasons exist for this shortage, but none more significant than the abuse these officials receive at the hands of fans, parents, and coaches.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) reported that the number of officials at the middle school and high school level has fallen from over 16,600 in 2010-11 to just over 14,000 in February of 2019.

“Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliate your child, annoy those sitting around, embarrass your child’s school, and are the primary reason Ohio has an alarming shortage of high school officials,” said a recent letter from the OHSAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

One local parent came up with a plan to bring awareness to the need for improved game-day behavior at all levels of play. Lori Carthanan is the owner of a business called “There’s More At Stake Than A Game!” based in Loveland. She believes that one of the keys to getting this positive fan behavior message out is to make the message visible. Her company prints apparel that can be purchased and worn during athletic events to encourage appropriate behavior at games.

“The There’s More At Stake Than A Game message must stay at the forefront because as long as people’s children are playing a game, parents’ emotions will be present,” Carthanan said. “The visual reminders are key! Because the visual reminders are so important, I try to make the purchase of the gear on the website mutually beneficial for the school from a message perspective, as well as from a monetary standpoint.”

Thirty percent of the sales go back to the school’s athletic department and ten percent go to Ohio Cleats for Kids. “Obviously, we are at the beginning stages of this initiative and company. I’m brainstorming ways to best launch at underprivileged schools” she added. In addition, two more Chic-fil-A restaurants are now on board. Watch this February WCPO Cincy Lifestyle interview with Carthanan here https://tinyurl.com/r643fq5

Milford High School Athletic Director Aaron Zupka was eager to give legs to the initiative and to begin placing emphasis on positive game-day behavior.

One of the first steps was to create a student-athlete sportsmanship video. The video contains messages from a number of Milford student-athletes promoting the benefits of sports and positive sportsmanship. View video here https://tinyurl.com/yx3ssseg. Local Channel 12 even spotlighted the video as part of a segment about Milford’s involvement in the initiative. That segment can be seen here https://tinyurl.com/qp6z3rd.

Zupka also began a “Fans of the Game” recognition program, spotlighting positive fan behavior and school spirit during Eagle athletic contests. The first Milford students recognized as “Fans of the Game” were seniors Kristen Bales and Tori Kittrell (pictured). Fans of the Game also receive Chic-fil-A for a week, compliments of the Romar Center Chic-fil-A in Milford.

“Chic-fil-A always takes an active role in being a positive influence in the community, and we’re excited to have their support in promoting our initiative to encourage positive fan behavior,” Zupka said. “Chic-fil-A Romar Center helped to sponsor warm-up jerseys that reflect the There’s More at Stake than a Game message for our varsity basketball athletes.”

Any other schools interested in being a part of changing the culture of fan behavior, and making some money for your athletic programs along the way, contact Lori at loricarnathan@gmail.com or visit the website at https://theresmoreatstakethanagame.com/.