TASO’s Third Strike Rule: A Game-Changer for Sportsmanship in Texas

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) – In a bid to curb the rising instances of verbal and physical abuse towards officials in sporting events, the Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO) has introduced a stringent policy known as the “abuse of officials” policy, colloquially referred to as the third strike rule. This rule, applicable across all sports, is poised to make a significant impact on school districts throughout the state.

Under this policy, school districts accrue a strike each time a fan, player, or coach is removed from a sporting event due to abusive behavior towards an official. Upon accumulating three strikes, TASO reserves the right to cease sending officials to officiate at that school’s sporting events. This strategic move aims to protect officials from both verbal and physical abuse, fostering an environment that upholds sportsmanship and respect.

TASO's Third Strike Rule: A Game-Changer for Sportsmanship in Texas

Dr. Brad Owen, the superintendent of Burkburnett ISD, expressed his support for the new rule, emphasizing that the primary reason for attending a game should not be to berate or harm referees. He highlighted that the rule reinforces existing behavioral expectations rather than introducing radical changes.

Recent incidents have prompted school districts to reevaluate their approach to spectator conduct at sporting events. Dr. Owen clarified that, while the district believed it had received its first strike after a fan’s ejection from a recent event, subsequent clarification ruled out the strike. Nevertheless, the episode underscores the gravity of the issue and the need for proactive measures.

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As TASO’s third strike rule takes effect, it not only aims to protect officials but also promotes a positive and respectful atmosphere at sporting events, where the focus remains on the game itself rather than unsportsmanlike conduct. This initiative reflects a commitment to nurturing a culture of sportsmanship and fair play across the Texas sports landscape.

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