Referees talk before the start of the OU vs. Kent State basketball game on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. (Daniel Linhart | WOUB)

Bill Would Increase Penalties For Roughing Up The Referee

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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 Republican colleague 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.