Louisiana Bill Could Give Jail Time For Yelling At Officials in Youth Sports

A bill currently in the Louisiana Senate would create a misdemeanor crime for harassing refs and officials at youth athletic events. Being convicted of the crime could come with up to 90 days of imprisonment.

Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate reports that House Bill 184 would created a class of misdemeanor crime for “harassment of a school or recreation athletic contest official.” The state Senate voted 35-0 in favor of the bill over the weekend. The bill will now return to the state House of Representatives for consideration of an amendment that would criminalize “not leaving the field and facility when ordered by police,” per The Advocate.

The sponsor of the bill, Republican Cameron Henry, says the bill is “unfortunate,” but necessary, USA Today reports. Louisiana’s high school athletic association has already sent out a memo telling parents to stop harassing and threatening referees, and USA Today cites a case in which a youth basketball coach in Michigan was arrested for assaulting a referee. Police say the coach punched the official and knocked him unconscious, and a family member of the official posted on Facebook that he was being treated for a concussion and a broken collarbone, among other injuries.

The Chicago Tribune reported last month on a shortage in officials across all sports in youth and high school leagues. That story cited a survey in which 87% of officials said they’d experienced verbal abuse, and that the behavior of spectators has caused many officials to leave the job altogether.

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Coach ID

As a coach in any sport, you and your team are better off adjusting to how the rules are enforced, compared to changing the mind of a referee/umpire/official on how they’re going to officiate.


They’re gonna put Bill in jail?


Poor bill

Muddy Canary

Huh, and here I was going to say something snarky about southern culture, but the article linked/cited deals with a Michigan event. What the heck is wrong with people these days?

Yeah, definitely not a southern culture thing. My dad, who was born, raised and lived in Chicago for almost all of his life until about age 50, certainly wasn’t the worst, but he was asked to leave more-than-one of me and my brother’s sporting events.


My first thought was Philly… then southern baseball/softball… but it’s definely a widespread issue.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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