Rationale for Change

  • Redefine what it means to be a “Good Sport”

Self-governance of individuals has failed – neither coaches nor spectators feel expectation to behave responsibly while attending or participating in a sporting event. Self-governance of state sport administrators has failed to address the problem – they are overwhelmed or prioritize their “paying customers” and accept the shortage of officials as cost of their approach.

  • Restore the Presumption of Workplace Safety

In any other workplace, no employee one would tolerate the risk of a brick or a full water bottle being thrown at the head, or to be threatened with assault, or to face unwanted lewd suggestions from their customers or people that they are supervising, yet sports officials are asked to expect and tolerate it.

Sports officials are increasingly retiring and first year officials are not returning for more assignments.

  • 15 percent of basketball officials do not return after their first year.
  • 35 percent of soccer referees do not return after their first year.
  • Only about half of baseball umpires who complete one year are back for a second year, and the five-to-seven year attrition rate hovers around 80 percent.
  • 40 percent of football officials have retired in last three years.

 

From 2013-2017, Virginia High School League reports an ANNUAL AVERAGE of 74 coaches ejected for unprofessional or irresponsible behavior. No action is planned by VHSL to take effect before SEPT 2018.

  • 118 distinct public high schools had coach or player ejected from a VHSL competition just in the last four months of 2017

 

  • Narrowly Tailored Solution Does Not Remove Drama of Sports or Criminalize Dissent

Bill does not criminalize dissenting opinions or booing an opponent; it punishes abusive behavior directed at our teenage sons and daughters, our moms and dads, our brothers and our sisters whose pay is not commensurate for the weekly on the job harassment they face.

 

Avoiding a Life-Defining Mistake in the Heat of the Moment

  • Bill shields all spectators by warning them of a line they should stop crossing – the recent deaths of soccer officials at the hands of players and spectators in Michigan and Utah are two too many.