One Way to Stop Disruptive Sports Parents: Ban Them

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A Massachusetts YMCA took an extreme step last week in response to the problem of disruptive parents at sports events: It banned parents.

The Tri-Community YMCA in Southbridge, Mass., banned players’ parents from attending basketball games on the last day of the season (Feb. 27).

At earlier games for the fifth- through eight-graders, parents had repeatedly yelled at one another and at referees, often continuing to do so after being asked to calm down, according to news reports.

“This is what we tried to do to let people know this is not appropriate behavior,’’ said Sue Casine, recreation director at the YMCA, told the Boston Globe. “It’s just a youth league.” No records or standings are kept for those age groups, the YMCA said.

Executive Director Edward Keefe did feel much like discussing the matter this week, stressing that the ban was a “one-time thing.”

The national YMCA says it takes no position on such actions by its local organizations. “YMCA of the USA does not have national guidelines on parental attendance at youth sporting events,” said spokeswoman Mamie Moore.