LEXINGTON, KY (WKYT/Gray News) - The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has adopted a new policy aimed at addressing concerns of unsportsmanlike conduct by spectators.
The policy states that any adult spectator who is removed by school administrators or by law enforcement for unsportsmanlike conduct will be suspended from attending, at minimum, the next contest at that level of competition, and any contests in the meantime.
This policy change comes after the KHSAA faced an alarming shortage of referees for high school sporting events in the past year. KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett attributes that shortage of referees to unruly behavior from parents and spectators.
There were 313 fewer officials registered with the KHSAA in 2018 than in 2012, according to data from the KHSAA.
Tackett recently published an op-ed that reported 75 percent of all high school officials say “adult behavior” is the reason they hung up the whistle.
Speaking on the KHSAA’s new policy that could bar parents and other spectators from future games if they act inappropriately, Tacket said that he hopes the policy never has to be implemented.
“Hopefully this is a deterrent that, when implemented in our schools, becomes that one last chance for people to stop short of acting in such an unsportsmanlike manner that ejection is the only option,” said Tackett.