CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Football season is kicking off across the country and here in New York, spectators will be expected to follow a new set of rules. It’s three strikes and you’re out.
You’ve probably seen the violence unfold on television during NFL games on primetime, or you heard about high school games in New York being disrupted by bad spectator behavior. This year, things are changing, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) is taking action against bad sportsmanship on the local level. NEWS10 visited the Guilderland high school homecoming game seeking spectator reactions and more on the new rules that could see some booted from the stands.
You may have seen someone blow their top and overreact to a student’s play or an official’s call during a high school game and now there’s a three-strike policy, no matter what the sport. It goes into effect this school year. It comes at the start of the busy football season.
“New York is not unique. This is something that is happening across the country. We have regulations and rules for coaches and rules and regulations for student athletes. So, our membership has been interested in a number of years and looking at creating some type of regulation for spectators and fans,” said NYSPHSAA Executive Director, Dr. Zayas.
He goes on to tell NEWS10 that there was no particular school event that spurred the new game plan. “For a number of years and Association we have been talking about negative behavior that unfortunately has become of Youth Sports and this is an effort really address fans that are acting in inappropriate way at high school sporting events,” he said.
According to the new policy, the first offense will result in a warning to stop negative comments or actions. The second warning is a discussion of the new rules with the spectator and a reminder that the third offense will result in removal from the game. Once removed from a game, the spectator will have to complete a parent credential course or face a one game suspension.
David Austin, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, says he has dealt with bad behavior from spectators before.
“They are uncomfortable conversations. Nobody wants to be in those. But at the end of the day if I’m going to get in front of people and say this is how we need to act, from a player to an athlete to a coach to a spectator you know, we got to hold people accountable when they don’t act like that,” said Austin.
Spectators at the homecoming game think this is a winning move. “People can think twice before do they open their mouth basically,” said one fan. “If you have to get called out three times, you’re probably a problem,” said another.
However, not all high school games see bad sportsmanship in the stands.
“I think it’s really important to point out that this is not just something that’s happening in every single sporting event. But when it does occur, it has a negative impact on the game and has a negative impact on the student athletes who are participating. So, it’s not widespread but it’s happening enough we need to go ahead and put an end to it,” said Dr. Zayas.