Variety of HS Officials

(5-11-17) The shortage of high school athletic officials in the US is an alarming problem for administrators, coaches and student-athletes.

Two recent articles in USA Today High School Sports articles paint a dismal picture for the future.  The problem is just not related to just one sport, it’s every sport.  Long-time officials are hanging up their whistles and the number of younger officials is not enough to fill in the supply needed.  It’s even to the point of schools cancelling some games, because there are no officials able to cover a game.


Shrinking pay, age, abuse among factors driving referees away in public high schools

Barry Mano, founder and president of the National Association of Sports Officials:

“We have got to control the way sports officials are treated and respected. We have to turn the train around and they have to be fully valued and respected. We’ve got to deliver psychic income.”

Refs say culture of abuse has to change: ‘We are targets’

Terry Walsh, the interpreter of Local Boys Basketball Officials Board 114 in Dutchess County:

“…to prevent abuse at games and venues known for their over-the-top behavior.”

“​We’ll map it out with security and figure out how many people we’ll need in a certain spot, who the troublesome parents are and where they might be, and what we need to look out for.”

This past weekend in a Rockford (Illinois) Register-Star story coaches and officials claim their is ‘racial bias’ when white officials are doing games with a majority of black student athletes.

Kywan Edmonson, a black official from the Rockford area told Trowbridge:

“Some of the kids think that quote-unquote white officials cheat them”

In a SSN story recently – Why Is There A Shortage Of High School Officials

Doug Billerman who was honored as the 2014-15 Ohio High School Athletic Associaiton Boys Soccer Official of the Year:

The lack of respect in a good number of cases by parents, fans, and in recent years of my 19 years as an OHSAA official the student – athletes on the pitch / field. Things that are not taught to them about self control / composure as I was taught and many others by our coaches back in the early 90s. 

The issue as it continues to grow will be a problem for athletic directors, state associations and student-athletes. A solution, many are looking to solve the problem, but so far it continues to be a struggle.