Florida bill aims to punish out-of-control youth coaches

New call to strengthen required background checks for coaches in charge


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Youth sports are supposed to teach kids about competition, respect, winning and losing. But what happens when some people cross the line? New legislation aims to punish out-of-control coaches.

The bill cleared its first committee unanimously, however, there was a call to strengthen the required background checks for coaches in charge of the youth teams.

A video from South Florida shows the aftermath of a 2012 youth football game. It shows an assistant coach running up to a referee because he didn't like his call and then hitting the ref in the face.

Videos like that one are becoming all too common according to lawmakers. State Sen. Jeremy Ring is proposing a crackdown on out-of-control coaches for youth sports.

"They coach their 8-year-old girls like it's a professional team," said Ring. "They're not just hurting their own kids, they're hurting every other child on the field that, at that point, is seeing that."

Ring's bill would affect coaches who are in charge of teams with 12-year-olds and younger. If the coach is thrown out of a game for unruly behavior, they're banned for the rest of the season.

Lawmakers said that the bill is targeting more than just simple dust ups, but they are hesitant about regulating behavior.

Sen. Nancy Detert supported the proposal.

"I have seen the mom's jump behind home plate on the fence," said Detert.

But she admitted she was concerned lawmakers have to step in and do this at all.

"I think Sen. Ring is just trying to fire a cannon out there to say, 'Stop it,'" said Detert. "We notice bad behavior we could legislate if we want to. I think it's more of a threat than a law."

Ring's bill would allow coaches to appeal the season-long ban.