Kentucky Considers Misdemeanor Charge for Intimidating Refs

February 15, 2022 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
If you’re in the state of Kentucky and harass an official during a high school or youth sporting event, you could be facing misdemeanor charges in the near future.

According to a recent report from, Kentucky lawmakers are considering legislation to create the misdemeanor charge of intimidating a sports official.

misdemeanorBelow is an excerpt from that story.

The hope is this legislation will alleviate the shortage of referees for sporting events because the future of high school athletics could be at stake.

“We’re down in Kentucky about 25% to 30% of the available pool of officials,” said Julian Tackett, commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.

Rep. David Hale, R-Wellington, said there are not enough officials to cover all of the games. Hale said the shortage is due to referees who don’t want to deal with threats and intimidation from fans at sporting events.

Josh Hughes, the athletic director at Lewis County High School, has seen officials struggle with confrontations.

“It’s getting to a point where people are just not wanting to deal with any of it, with an actual physical confrontation,” Hughes said. “Those types of things are happening more often it seems. ”

Hale is sponsoring House Bill 220 which would create the misdemeanor crime of intimidating a sports official. Offenders could face up to a year in jail for threatening to injure a sports official or damaging a referee’s property or business interests.

Hughes thinks it’s long overdue.

” We’re getting low on officials and guys are getting out of the game because of intimidation,” Hughes said.

The House Judiciary Committee has sent the legislation to the full House for consideration.

To read the full story from and to learn more about potential misdemeanor charges, click here