SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As football season gets underway in earnest this week in Louisiana, fans should keep in mind about a new law in place to prohibit the harassment of referees.
House Bill 148 was passed and signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in June and went into effect this year school. A recent study says more than 75 percent of officials quit because of “adult behavior.” According to the National Association Of Sports officials, more than 80 percent of young officials quit after just two years because of harassment, leaving a referee shortage and canceled events.
Referee Al Moore says he’s seen a lot over his 20-year career and he said parents confronting game officials happen often.
Moore said he’s happy something has been done about this problem.
“Early in my career, I was at a basketball game, I won’t mention the school. One of the parents of one of the players was harassing me about certain calls. Security now with this bill being passed will step up to make sure we are being protected.”
We reached out to surrounding school districts for comment. Bossier Parish School District sent us the following statement.
“We are in full support of school administrators and referees being able to manage sporting events to the best of their ability and model good conduct, sportsmanship and positive behavior for our athletes and student body in attendance. The purpose of youth sports is not just about winning games, but developing personal character and learning valuable lessons when life throws us the inevitable curve ball. Though it is our hope referees will not have to invoke this law, it gives them further latitude to manage unruly and unsportsmanlike behaviors that ruin the game for everyone.”
The law says anyone charged with harassing an official could face up to a $500 fine, could spend up to 90 days in jail or both.