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Mid section of a mixed-race schoolboy with a basketball under his arm standing in basketball court at school

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FAIRLAND, Ind. — This past weekend there was a basketball tournament that ended with a post-game fight in which a referee was hit.

The fight happened soon after a game between travel basketball teams ended. The teams were taking part in the Next Level Classic being put on by the Indiana U.S. Amateur Basketball at Triton Central High School in Fairland.

Randy Lane, whose daughter plays for a team from Owensboro, Kentucky, caught the fight on video, which shows members of a travel girls’ team from Cincinnati getting chippy with the referee, which then escalates into a full-on brawl where the referee takes a hand to the face.

“Girls were threatening saying ‘why don’t you meet me in the parking lot’. Some parents during a basketball play were saying ‘don’t let her do that to you, F her up’,” he said. “Just getting real chippy.”

Now the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident. It’s something that Kevin Lewis, who heads up the Indiana Officials Association says is something that is happening far too often when it comes to referees getting attacked parents and athletes.

“It’s very disturbing and needs to be controlled,” Lewis said. “It’s getting worse and worse. It’s not just basketball, it’s baseball and other sports too.”

Lewis said that his organization is looking into ways to lobby state lawmakers to consider new protections for game referees and officials. He said they are even floating recommendations to make it a felony to verbally and physically abuse referees while in a game setting.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association has recently highlighted efforts to deal with an increasing official shortage as well. Many referees are deciding to leave the profession over abuse by parents and athletes alike.