COLUMBUS (TDB) -- A Republican state senator says Ohio needs a law forcing youth sports coaches to sign mandatory pledges that they will emphasize sportsmanship, ethics, safety, fun and fairness in games.
Sen. Larry A. Mumper's bill is an attempt to damp down playing field incidents that involve hot heads losing their cool on the sidelines. He also wants coaches to run their teams so all kids' get some playing time, or as the proposed law says, "manage all games, competitions, and practices in such a manner that all participants have an equal opportunity to improve their athletic skills through active participation."
There also would be a disciplinary policy banishing violators , but it is not spelled out in the proposed law.
Mumper is a former teacher and coach from Marion. He is term-limited out of office in 2008. Mumper probably is best-known for sponsoring a measure in 2005 that many saw as an attempt to regulate what college professors could say in their classrooms. It was denounced as an move to trim free speech and academic freedom. Mumper said at the time he believed conservatives got short shrift on campuses because a majority of Ohio's professors were liberals or leftists.
Across the nation, there have been brawls, screaming matches and boorish behavior at youth soccer, basketball, football and baseball games. Mumper's plan would make coaches promise to run the recreational games with respect and dignity under a formal conduct and ethics policy. He tried to get it passed in the last legislative session without any luck. It is back as SB 46.
The measure is HERE and the ethics policy would be developed under auspices of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, a non-profit group of 1,650 members involved in running recreation programs around the state. The group is lobbying for the bill.
Mumper's bio is HERE, and the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Web site is HERE.
A few years ago, the National Association of Sports Officials started cataloging violence incidents on American playing fields and some of their data is HERE.