One Little League organization in New Jersey has had enough of parents arguing with its umpires and is taking drastic action to solve the problem.

Deptford Township Little League has implemented a new rule that requires anyone who argues with an umpire to try their hand at umpiring if they want to attend as a spectator again.

In a twist on the baseball rule “three strikes and you’re out,” spectators guilty of arguing with the umpire will need to serve as an umpire for three games before they’re allowed back.

“The main purpose is not for them to be able to call a baseball game and for them to see what’s going on out here. It’s not that easy,” Don Bozzuffi, the league’s president, said, per WMTV.

The league lost two of its volunteer umpires in late April and is hoping the new rule will cut down on the high umpire turnover rate.

“They’re coming here, they’re being abused, they don’t need that,” Bozzuffi said. “So they’re walking away.”

The officiating shortage is not isolated to New Jersey. The New York Times reported that an estimated 50,000 high school referees quit from 2018 to 2021 in the U.S.

The cause for the shortage? Verbal abuse.

Opinion: Parents threw punches at a football game — but we should be worried about the kids

A 2020 survey from Officially Human found that 55% of officials ranked verbal abuse from fans, parents and coaches as the No. 1 reason officials quit. Of the officials surveyed, 59% don’t feel respected by parents and spectators.

During a 2019 youth baseball game in Lakewood, Colorado, parents disagreed with a call from a 13-year-old umpire and stormed the field. Parents and spectators started punching each other while the 7-year-old players looked on.

“We were disgusted, quite frankly,” Lakewood Police spokesman John Romero said after the incident, according to CNN. “Baseball and 7-year-old kids, it’s the parents that need to grow up here. That’s the saddest part.”

Several individuals were cited for disorderly conduct and a manhunt was issued for one of the individuals involved.

Like Deptford Township Little League, the Utah Youth Soccer Association experienced the same shortage and uptick in verbal abuse. One of the association’s referees, a 16-year-old young woman, had to be “escorted off the field by police officers because people were coming after us,” KSL reported.

The UYSA took action by implementing a “zero-tolerance policy” against inappropriate behavior toward referees in 2022. Referee harassment from a player, coach or spectator would result in that team forfeiting the game or the loss of that team’s spectators for the rest of the season, according to KSL.