Youth Sports Highlight Reel

Parents are Brawlin’ Where Kids Should be Ballin’

By Melissa Wickes
March 12, 2024
5 min

Do you want the good news first or the bad news?

Well, the bad news is the unruly fan and parent behavior is all over the news this week — with three stories resulting in violence below.

It’s becoming so out of control that legislature is proposing a bill that would charge unruly fans interfering with a referee before, after, or during a game $1,000 — and high school athletic associations are releasing behavior guidelines.

The good news?

Despite the parents who can’t seem to behave, the youth sports in minority communities (like underserved, disabled, and girls) continues to grow.

More on the good, the bad, and the in between, below.

Youth Sports News This Week

1. MLB’s youth pipeline is seeing an improvement in diversity, thanks to development programs like the DREAM series and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) [which are both powered by LeagueApps!].

2. [VIDEO] Chaos broke out at this New Jersey high school playoff game when the officials ruled a buzzer beater to have occurred after the buzzer.The losing team, Manasquan, filed an appeal with the NJ Department of Education, which was denied.

3. [VIDEO] This Maine Police Athletic League basketball coach gave one kid a chance to shine on the court, because “building confidence requires participation, even if you don’t get a trophy.”

4. A sports bar called Bar of Their Own that showcases women’s sports all the time opened in Minnesota.

5. [VIDEO] A rec center employee in Kent, Ohio was driven to call 911 when a parent brawl broke out at a fourth grade basketball game. The opposing coach approached the referee about a disputed call, and an overzealous fan came up from behind and punched the coach in the head.

6. Reinvigorating youth sports may be the answer to helping kids build resilience and alleviate feelings of loneliness, according to this former professor in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology.

7. According to new research, girls’ participation in youth sports has increased from 300K in the early 70s to over 3 million now — however, girls of color, from lower social class families, and attending schools in lower-income neighborhoods are often denied these opportunities.

8. Girls wrestling continues explosive growth — with last Friday marking the start of the second Ohio HIgh School Athletic Association girls state championship.

9. Kristin Sortino makes history as the first woman to officiate the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League boys basketball championship.

10. The controversy surrounding bills regarding gender rights in youth sports forges on — with Wisconsin Republican Wisconsin Senator Joan Ballweg joining Democrats against the bill and New York Attorney General Letitia James being sued by a county official for her blocking of the bill in New York.

11. John Gotti Jr.’s daughter and wife were charged with third-degree assault after an on-court brawl at a Long Island high school game — where fists were thrown and a wig was ripped off a woman, according to police documents. She has since rejected her plea deal, claiming the other woman started the brawl.

12. NFL Star Kirk Cousins and ETS Performance launched a youth sports training facility in Grand Rapids, aiming to foster young athletic talent.

13. The Aspen Institute distilled the Commission on US Olympics and Paralympics’ 244 page report — here are the five main themes they took away from it.

14. A new special committee was created in Chelsea, Massachusetts to encourage youth sports leagues in the city and ensure they have the support they need to continue serving the youth in Chelsea.

15. A new report found that 80% of young girls feel more confident because of playing team sports, and almost half of them feel more confident than other girls their age.

16. Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF), invites Boston girls aged 7 to 14 to participate in the annual All Girls Sports and Wellness Festival during April Boston Public Schools vacation week.

17. [VIDEO] Arrests were made at a youth basketball game in North Providence, Rhode Island when a fight broke out.

18. The Office of Child and Family Services in Saratoga, NY is providing a $100K grant to help kids from undeserved communities play sports.

19. [VIDEO] This boys and girls youth basketball team in Cheverly, Maryland held its tournament Saturday, and half of the players on one of the top-seeded teams are deaf. Click here to learn how hiring an interpreter led the team to success.

This Weekend’s Wins

1. BIG weekend for Pelican State Volleyball — 13s Blue, 14s Gray, and 15s Blue all won their divisions at the Wavefest in Foley, Alabama this weekend.

Special shoutout to 15s who didn’t drop a single set this weekend.Let’s go Pelicans!

2. 417 Juniors 18 Elite double qualified for an upgraded bid to Nationals this weekend! Plus, lot of wins for other teams like 16 National Black, 13 Regional Black, 16 Elite, 18 Elite, 16 Local, 15 Local, and 14 National Black.

3. Excel Volleyball Club 10 White finished in third in the March Mayhem Tournament to bring home the bronze, and 13 Red finished 3rd in the 2024 Sunshine Classic USAV Open Qualifier!

4. Madfrog Volleyball 10NG went undefeated at the Houston Cross Court Classic! Plus, 13 National Black were Sunshine Champs and qualified for nationals!

5. Congrats Fox Motors Hockey Club Girls 12U Tier 1 MAHA State Champs, and 14U Tier II girls team on 14U MAHA State Championship!

6. 13WG Instinct Volleyball Club went undefeated this weekend — but they weren’t the only winners of the weekend. 12WG won in silver, 14WB ended up in the top 16 teams of their tournament, 17WB earned their medal at Spring Fest, 13WB brought hardware home, 14 Wild got first in their bracket, and 14 WG came in first.

7. Congrats Athletics Mercado on all the wins and hard work this weekend!

8. Congrats Silver Lake Soccer Academy 2014 Fire on your 11–1 win this weekend!

9. Nebraska Elite Elite Wild, 18 Vici, 14 Aloha, 13 Chaos — congrats on the wins!

10. Congrats Kennedy Urban from Team Indiana Volleyball on your commitment to Quincy University! Plus, Elite 18.1 brought hold the Gold Ball as Northeast Qualifier Champs this weekend!


If this isn’t proof that kids are absorbing everything we do, on the court and on the sidelines, IDK what is.


1. 6 on 6: The Way Girls Basketball Used to be Played

2. Why do parents get so riled up about youth sports?

3. This Iowa Public Radio podcast episode discusses unruly fan behavior and the culture surrounding youth sports

4. Little League isn’t just for boys: How girls and their moms can get involved in baseball

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