NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –Officials could soon have stronger tools to curb bad behavior at sporting events. The New Mexico Activities Association has approved new bylaws to crack down on unsportsmanlike conduct. 

“We have fans that are threatening officials and following them to the locker room and giving them death threats, said NMAA Executive Director, Sally Marquez. We have student bodies that are yelling bad language to each other and some derogatory things to each other.” 

The New Mexico Activities Association says the behavior at sporting events has gotten out of hand. The board of directors voted unanimously to approve a proposed sportsmanship bylaw that ramps up the penalties for bad conduct at games. It specifically targets what is considered egregious conduct which includes acts of violence or abuse, verbal attacks on officials, or chanting inappropriate or demeaning comments. 

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“We had a brawl this year and not only the kids but the fans itself as well. And so things like that are happening more and more and more and we’re just not going to tolerate it,” said Marquez. 

The proposed rule says if a player or coach engages in egregious behavior two or more times during a season, they could be suspended for the rest of the season. If fans are the ones being unruly, they– along with all other spectators– could be banned from games for the rest of the season. This would be on top of the current “Compete with Class” initiative, which allows parents to be banned for un-sportsman-like behavior for 185 school days. 

“I think things get real heated and I heard about fights happening and buses getting attacked. Yeah that would be nice if that all kind of just went away,” said local resident, Cante Calabaza. 

“This is supposed to be fun for kids and enjoyable and not confrontational, so I think it’s good thing if it passes,” said a woman who wanted to remain anonymous. 

The bylaw still has to be approved by the full NMAA membership.”I think the athletic directors and the schools realize the behaviors going on and this is going to help them at the schools also burb bad behavior,” said Marquez.

NMAA member schools will vote by June 23. If approved, the new policy would take effect during the 2023-2024 school year.