“Air ball”? Nope.
“Scoreboard”? Can’t have that.
“Season’s over”? Not in Wisconsin.
The state’s high school athletics association is doubling down on what it considers “disrespectful” chants by fans at its basketball games, mandating that chants must only support and uplift the teams on the court.
Including the three above, other banned chants include: “There’s a net there,” “we can’t hear you,” and “you can’t do that.”
The idea behind such a mandate? The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association wants to promote sportsmanship and curb behavior at games that can lead to fights and bullying.
Though the WIAA’s guideline has been in place for years, it came under the limelight this week, when a girls basketball player was suspended for profanely criticizing it on Twitter.
The WIAA faced heavy criticism afterward from multiple national media outlets and alumni. For example, Memphis Grizzlies TV announcer Pete Pranica, a Wisconsin native, bemoaned the changes on Twitter: “I am officially embarrassed by my home state. Congrats …”
Sports Illustrated wrote: “The ‘W’ in WIAA technically stands for ‘Wisconsin’ but it should really stand for ‘Whining.’”
So what’s the deal? Why try to prevent fans from having a little harmless fun at games?
“The intention of the message was misconstrued and morphed into something far beyond what it was and what it was intended for,” said the WIAA’s David Anderson, who told the Associated Press that he stands by the guidelines.
Well, good luck with all that.