Update: Oct. 27, 10: 30 a.m. – Lehi Police are reporting the individual involved in this incident has come forward and is working with police to resolve the issue.
On Oct. 6, Skyridge played against Pleasant Grove High School in a close game that went into overtime and lost for the first time of the season. As referees left the field, some people in the stands reportedly began throwing water bottles at them.
One of the referees was struck in the back by a bottle, according to Jared Youngman, a joint board president of the Utah High School Football Officials Association. However, it didn’t stop there.
Lehi Police say the referees were then followed by a group of fans as they attempted to return to the school. One individual from the group allegedly pushed a referee in the back. The referees were however able to get into the school safely.
“We want those parents or those fans to be prosecuted to the fullest extent. That’s uncalled for. The behavior is not good at all,” Youngman said.
Lehi Police say this is an open investigation as they are attempting to identify the suspect who allegedly pushed the referee. They are asking for the public’s help and provided the following photos and a description. They say he is possibly a Polynesian man and the photos show him in a beanie, glasses, and a black jacket.
“I’ve worked Skyridge multiple times this year, I worked them last year, their fans are passionate, their team’s passionate,” Youngman said. “To me this is a Skyridge issue here, but this is an issue across the nation when it comes to officiating any sport.”
After the incident, the Utah High School Activities Association put a temporary block on the school, which means no referees would work Skyridge games until they came up with a plan to address the issue. They say the plan is now in place, the block is lifted, and no games will be affected.
Youngman reminded fans to practice good sportsmanship, especially now with playoffs underway. The Utah High School Activities Association have adopted the phrase “Do Rowdy Right” and are attempting to inspire people to raise the bar on their fan behavior.
Police say anyone with information about the suspect or the incident should contact School Resource Officer Sweeten at firstname.lastname@example.org or Detective Ah Loy at email@example.com.