© 2022 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Weather-related closings from WKYC
Government & Politics

Ohio Legislators Propose a Bill to Protect Referees

a photo of a referee at a basketball game
The bill would make assaulting a sports official a fifth-degree felony.

Referees at sporting events are used to being heckled by fans but sometimes, they are victims of actual assault. A new bill has been introduced in the Ohio Legislature to address that problem.

Democratic Rep. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) is also a college basketball referee. He says he hasn’t been assaulted by over-zealous fans but he’s aware of some of those situations.

“Officials have either been attacked on the field, on the court or in the act of officiating or even afterwards walking out to their car or after the game at a location nearby where maybe they have stopped to eat or drink and people have accosted them.”

Miller, along with his colleague Rep. Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) are sponsoring a bill that would make assaulting a sports official a fifth-degree felony. That is the current penalty for assaulting teachers, school administrators and bus drivers.