OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Two strikes and you’re out. Outrageous behavior during sports games led the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activity Association to implement a new “sportsmanship rule” for the upcoming school year. With the new rule, teams can be suspended for the rest of the season after two reports of unsportsmanlike behavior. The police will include fans.
Millwood school’s director of operations, Shannon Hayes, said he has seen a change in behavior as well.
“It’s a matter of fans feeling they have more control of what happens on the field,” said Hayes. “I think it’s a disservice to our kids.”
Hayes said he has made his coaches and staff aware of the new rule. He has plans to add more people in the stands that will monitor outrageous behavior.
“I want to make sure that my team doesn’t get penalized for a fan doing something they shouldn’t,” said Hayes.
The OSSAA Board of Directors adopted the new policy, which stirred up talk on social media. The rule stated any “egregious” unsportsmanlike behavior from coaches, players, two times in the season will lead to the suspension of the team or individual for the rest of the season.
If it happened during the final game of the year penalties will take place during the following season.
David Jackson, executive director of OSSAA, said this new rule would have the most impact.
“We hope we never have to use this at all,” said Jackson. “Our goal in this is to say this is happening way too often. Let’s be proactive in preventing these things.”
In turn, possibly preventing bad behavior from passing along to the next generation of athletes and fans.
“It’s just a game,” said Hayes. “What are we teaching our kids?”
The policy would not replace game rules, only unsportsmanlike behavior.