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Model Legislation to Protect Sports Officials

The National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational association. NASO is not a political action committee nor does it employ a legislative lobbyist. However, NASO feels it is important to protect its members in certain areas of the law, and therefore feels it is the organization's duty to inform its members of current law as well as potential needs for legislative action.

Since 1984, when NASO first submitted model legislation regarding assaults against officials, members and legislators have used such models to construct their own legislative bills. Each state handles legislation differently, and it is up to the local constituency to manage the process effectively.

The models provided herein are provided solely for such purpose. It is NASO's goal that individual members can utilize these proposed legislative models and work with local legislators to construct viable and enactable laws.

Criminal Offense To Physically Assault Sports Officials

Section 1: Any person who physically assaults any sports official at any level of competition, within the confines or immediate vicinity of the athletic facility at which the athletic contest in which a sports official was an active participant shall be guilty of a crime (misdemeanor, felony, etc.) which shall be punishable by a fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment to a maximum of three (3) years.

Section 2: This law shall take effect immediately.

Limited Civil Liability for Sports Officials

Section 1: Sports officials who officiate athletic contests at any level of competition in this State shall not be liable to any person or entity in any civil action for injuries or damages claimed to have arisen by virtue of actions or inactions related in any manner to officiating duties within the confines of the athletic facility at which the athletic contest is played.

Section 2: Sports officials are defined as those individuals who serve as referees, umpires, linesmen, and those who serve in similar capacities but may be known by other titles and are duly registered or members of a local, state, regional or national organization which is engaged in part in providing education and training to sports officials.

Section 3: Nothing in this law shall be deemed to grant the protection set forth to sports officials who cause injury or damage to a person or entity by actions or inactions which are intentional, willful, wanton, reckless, malicious or grossly negligent.

Section 4: This law shall take effect immediately, and shall apply to all lawsuits filed after the effective date of this law, including those which allege actions or inactions of sports officials which occurred prior to the effective date of this law.


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