Girls High School Basketball

Banned Mountain View parent won’t face criminal charges for throwing coat at referee

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect comments from Wendy Olson.

The Mountain View High parent who threw a jacket at a referee during a December girls basketball game will not face criminal charges.

The Canyon County prosecutor declined to pursue a misdemeanor battery charge against Craig Kreiser because it did not believe it could prove the charge, county spokesman Joe Decker said. A first conviction of misdemeanor battery carries a maximum sentence of six months in county jail and a fine of $1,000.

The Boise City Attorney’s Office referred the case to Canyon County due to a conflict of interest.

The incident stemmed from a Dec. 1 girls basketball game against Capital. Video from the game at Mountain View shows Kreiser leaving his seat in the first row to say something to the referee as he ran past. The referee turned around and ejected Kreiser, who threw his jacket underhanded and hit the official. Kreiser then followed the referee onto the court and kicked the jacket at the official with 1:33 left in the fourth quarter.

Kreiser did not return a message from the Statesman. He told Meridian Police the quality of referees in the area is lacking and the referee missed a foul against his daughter. He said he raised his hands in an “are you kidding me?” motion and the jacket came out of his hands, according to the police report. He said he didn’t intend to throw his jacket at the referee.

The referee’s statement to Meridian police said Kreiser “came after me in a physically threatening manner,” followed him after the ejection and was “verbally assaulting me.” The referee told police that he also ejected Kreiser’s wife, Wendy Olson, as she also “verbally assaulted” him.

Olson told the Idaho Statesman she didn’t verbally assault the referee and was never interviewed by police.

The Meridian Police Department withheld the referee’s name from the police report obtained by the Idaho Statesman through a public records request.

Kreiser sells insurance in the Treasure Valley, according to his LinkedIn page. He also unsuccessfully ran for a state Senate seat in 2012.

Olson was Idaho’s U.S. attorney from 2010 to 2017.

While Kreiser avoided criminal charges, he remains banned for one year from all high school sports and activities by the District 3 Board of Control, the governing body for high school sports in the Treasure Valley. Olson served a one-month suspension.

Mountain View wasn’t the only school with parent behavioral issues this winter. A parent threw a soda bottle at an official on the court at Meridian, according to minutes from the district board of control’s March meeting.

“The bottom line here is we’ve got officials working their butts off to take care of students,” board president Terry Beck said in January. “We all make errors. You make errors, and I make errors. But without officials, we don’t have games. We don’t have anything at any level.”

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama