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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

June 6, 2008 at 10:13 AM

WIAA (no, not that one) might ban shirtless fans

The WISCONSIN Interscholastic Athletic Association’s sportsmanship committee has recommended that shirtless or paint-chested fans be banned from indoor sporting events. The proposal is waiting the OK from a state committee of athletic directors before it goes into effect.

That seems a bit extreme to me. Here’s the rationale:

“People say, ‘Hey, we are attempting to take the fun out of high school sports.’ That isn’t the intention at all,” Tom Shafranski, assistant director of the association, said Thursday.

High school students can’t bare their chests in class, so there’s no reason for them to do it at indoor sporting events, he said.

The ban didn’t extend to outdoor sports (e.g. baseball), where weather comes into play. It is believed to be the only sanction of this kind in the country.

Shafranski said he has heard some concerns by offended fans. Also, the painted bodies have damaged property, including cloth seats, with dripping paint.

But he also noted, banning shirtless fans might lead to other potentially-offensive behavior.

“Many times we get some cross-dressing, when boys are wearing bikini tops that some people find to be offensive,” he said.

Where do you stand on this issue? As a younger voice, I think this is a non-issue. I have no problem with enthusiastic fans as long as the behavior is under control.

But perhaps there is a big enough voice against this kind of stuff. Thoughts?

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