It’s no secret that youth sports have become a Wild West of sorts. With everything from bad behavior aimed at referees and officials to children being overburdened with practice and workouts, what was once largely a realm of play has become serious business for many kids across the country and the commonwealth.

Now, state lawmakers are taking some early steps into considering regulation for youth sports to rein in the excess, including the possibility of some type of governing body.

On Wednesday, legislators from the Joint Committee on Economic Development and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing gathered for a hearing at the State House to discuss these issues and hear from experts on what can be done to address them.

Sen. Barry Finegold had several concerns he shared with reporters about the current state of youth sports. He pointed out that, while the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association regulates high school sports and the NCAA regulates college athletics, there’s no such body for what he described as “our most vulnerable population: young people.”

“And I think youth sports is great, I think youth sports is important for young people, but at the same time I’m worried about the amount of money that parents are spending that some of these parents can’t afford it, I’m worried about the amount of time that young people have to commit at such a young age and I’m also worried about the wear and tear on people’s bodies,” he said.

A dominant theme throughout the session was the aspiration for college or even professional careers being one of the main factors driving parents to push their children into serious athletic endeavors.

Linda Flanagan’s book “Take Back the Game,” which came out last year, details the current state of youth sports. She testified at Thursday’s hearing, and told GBH News the cost and difficulty of getting into college have also made sports seem like a way to secure access to schools.

“People consider sports one kind of a side door in, which it is,” she said.

She said a governing body would probably have resistance to start off but believes it would ideally impose some standards for the number of hours per week children can officially practice and compete.

“As I said in my testimony, regulation is a dirty word,” she said. “I think in the absence of it, it’s not gonna change. And parents, even though they want to do what’s right for their kid, they have this terrible feeling that they’re falling behind if they don’t go overboard."

David Moura, the dean of students at Uxbridge High School, is supportive of an oversight body to help guide youth sports along and alleviate some of the issues at hand.

“I think that would be very beneficial, especially for people, for families that are getting into sports for the first time, they have a resource and a guide to go to and there’s a governing body that will offer just more than some regulation and some oversight, but some education in the sport as well,” he said.

It’s still too early to say what comes next. Finegold said lawmakers will have to do their due diligence and discuss the best way forward. But he was happy to get the ball rolling and said he doesn’t know if there had ever been an informational hearing on youth sports before in Massachusetts.

“This was the first time we’ve really had an open dialogue about the direction of youth sports, and I think it was incredibly helpful and powerful,” he said.