School sports may seem like they're all just in the good-natured spirit of competition. But, beware, because these games can turn criminal. For those who choose to enroll in school sports, misbehaving could lead to actual legal trouble from being on the field, court, or even in the pool.
In the spirit of school being back in session, here are some legal concerns to be especially cautious of if you or your child is involved in school sports. Here are three ways that school sports can turn criminal:
- Assaults on the field. Assaults on the field may seem common, but there's a difference between your standard tackle and what may appear to the police as intentionally trying to hurt someone. Be careful to not physically take out any grudges on the opposing team, and make sure that the contacts you do make, on or off the field, don't cross the line over to assault and battery.
- Hazing. Hazing may seem like it's all in good fun, but it's actually illegal in most states, including Pennsylvania. While it is especially popular in fraternities and club sports, hazing should be avoided. Things can quickly turn mean-spirited or cruel, which is definitely not in the spirit of participating on a sports team or being a team player.
- Alcohol-related crimes. Adults celebrating (or mourning) game finales with alcohol is one thing, but underage students doing it is out of bounds. While it is not uncommon for most students to have had their first sips before they reached the legal age of 21, but that doesn't mean that it's legal. In fact, this could lead to a whole slew of messy and expensive criminal penalties in Pennsylvania -- even jail time. Underage drinking or appearing drunk on the field are both crimes already, but booze around school games can also lead to DUIs -- or death.
Be cautious out there. School sports are meant to be fun and to promote discipline and team building -- not arrests.
- Police investigate fight at high school football game (WGAL-TV)
- Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers, Attorneys and Law Firms - Pennsylvania (FindLaw)
- MIP: 3 Things to do After a Minor in Possession (FindLaw's Blotter)
- 5 Ways Hazing Can Get You Arrested (FindLaw's Blotter)