COLUMBUS, Ohio (CBS Local) — Parents of high school athletes in Ohio are being told to “cool it.”

The Ohio High School Athletic Association says it is losing officials and referees big time because of bad behavior by the fans. So the OHSAA has written a letter to moms and dads encouraging them to be good sports at their children’s games.

“When you attend an athletic event that involves your son or daughter, cheer to your heart’s content, enjoy the camaraderie that high school sports offer and have fun,” the letter states. “But when it comes to verbally criticize game officials or coaches, cool it.”

“Make no mistake about it. Your passion is admired, and your support of the hometown team is needed. But so is your self-control,” the letter continues. “Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child’s school and is the primary reason Ohio has an alarming shortage of high school officials.”

The OHSAA letter cites a survey by the National Association of Sports Officials that says more than 75 percent of all high school officials say “adult behavior” is the primary reason they quit.

“In a nutshell, go enjoy your kids playing, your kids are playing hard, they’re playing hard. Our coaches are good, they get the best out of them,” OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass told CBS affiliate WBNS. “Let the officials do their job the best they are capable of doing. Don’t replay it on your phone and see the call they missed. They are doing it in real life and in real time.”

The good news is since the OHSAA letter went out, they have heard from a lot folks who are now interested in getting involved in officiating.