The Referee Shortage is Growing


Supplies of public school sports referees are getting shorter. Michael Fitch of the Texas Association of Sports Officials says more referees are not going back to officiating. Fitch explains that over half of their members are over 50 and are taking a year off to avoid infection. He says treatment by the fans in the stands is another reason.

"Parents act up in the Youth Leagues. So the bad behavior they developed in the Youth Leagues continues right on into the Junior and Senior High School levels."

Some schools are moving their games to "non-Friday-night-lights" days to spread out the officials.

Covid-19 is partially to blame because more referees are over 60 than under 30. Fitch says, "We have a lot of officials who have chosen to sit out a year because of the potential of being infected."

He says there are other reasons. "Two other factors that people point out for not coming back are 1) the abuse they take from players and 2) the abuse they take from coaches."

If you're interested in learning about being a school referee, no matter what sport, go to TASO.org for information.

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