Across the country, sports from youth to high school are experiencing an officials shortage that few seem to have an answer on how to fix. While they're often preferred target of angry parents and fans, they're also an integral part of the sports experience that is absolutely necessary.
The state of Louisiana has an interesting approach they're hoping protects officials a little more than the recommendations currently in place.
The Senate in Louisiana voted 35-0 for House Bill 184 that would mean those harassing "school or recreation contest officials" could be charged with a misdemeanor, according to The Advocate.
A conviction could lead to up to 90-days in jail.
While I agree that something needs to be done to help encourage more folks to get into officiating, I doubt this is the answer. But hearing nightmare story after story of some parental behavior at different sporting events from baseball, to football, to soccer, and travel basketball I can see why some believe this is at least a partial step in the right direction.
It will be interesting to see if this goes all the way through into law if coaches are held to the same standard as fans. Could we see coaches end up getting sentenced to actual jail time during their season for losing it on the sidelines at an official?
Perhaps more importantly - will the threat of a misdemeanor and jail time be enough to change behavior from parents, fans, and coaches? That's the real question at hand here.
Head over to The Advocate to read the whole piece and where the bill heads from here.