KHSAA adopts new policy to deter fan misconduct at athletic events

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Incidents of fan misconduct at youth sporting events have seemingly been on the rise, leading the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) to respond in an effort to deter such unsportsmanlike behavior from occurring.

“There’s a tendency for people to become overcompetitive to the point of aggression,” said Chris Kummer, director for Warren County Parks and Recreation.

A wide array of videos can be found of spectators getting into physical and verbal altercations with fellow spectators and worse, officials.

“It is a huge problem,” said Kummer. “It’s one of the largest issues we’re facing right now, and recreation departments across the country are facing the same problem as well.”

The uptick in these types of incidents has led to the KHSAA taking action by adopting a new policy that aims at curbing unsportsmanlike behavior from all spectators at any high school sporting event.

“We expect if you act so bad that an adult has to throw you out, that you should not be able to come back the next day with no consequence,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett.

According to the new policy, any adult spectator removed from a KHSAA event by a school administrator or law enforcement officer for unsportsmanlike conduct will be suspended from attending the next game and all other contests in the interim.

“It’s an environmental problem that we want to try and stop here,” Tackett said. “It’s not a specific act problem.”

Kummer has seen similar incidents at county parks, which is why he believes the KHSAA is smart for taking this course of action.

“Anything that can be done in a proactive way to help negate any potential liability or risk of bad things happening, I think it’s a wise choice,” Kummer said.

Over the past five years, these fan misconduct incidents have happened all too frequently, according to Kummer.

“We’ve had incidents of disruptive fans, fights,” Kummer added. “We’ve had unfortunate situations, about 300-plus, over the past two-and-a-half years.”

Both Tackett and Kummer agreed that preventative measures like these are done with the safety in mind of everyone at an athletic event – fans, officials and of course, the athletes.