(2-6-19) Why in the world would anyone want to be a high school athletic official? That is a question that has come in focus recently in Ohio and the US. A shortage of qualified certified officials has caused great concerns, even cancellations of sporting events.
Recently the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and their member state associations sent out a request of parents to ‘cool it”, blaming them and spectators for their actions for the treatment of officials and the recent shortage of them.
When you attend an athletic event that involves your son or daughter, cheer to your heart’s content, enjoy the camaraderie that high school sports offer and have fun. But when it comes to verbally criticizing game officials or coaches, cool it.
Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child’s school and is the primary reason there is an alarming shortage of high school officials.
Yes that is one of the main reasons, but if you take time to look at what ‘hoops’ an official has to jump through in Ohio just to officiate an Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) sporting event you might find another key reason.
- Ohio – A 66 pdf file named – HANDBOOK FOR OFFICIALS
- Illinois Officials Center – annual fee is $50 for the first sport, and $15 for each additional sport
The first thing you notice is the demand on a new applicant or current official to meet numerous requirements, including time commitment and expenses to be an official.
When you look at the OHSAA Handbook For Officials (see link posted above) and the process you need to go through, you will see why their is a shortage and a lack of new officials being brought in.
First of all it is not a full-time job, you are considered as a contracted service, you are responsible for your equipment, travel. and other expenses. You are also responsible to pay for any class you are required to take or membership fees you are required to have with certain associations related to your sport….including fees for a OHSAA permit to officiate ($60 for one sport, $20 for an additional sport).
It is a lot to ask of someone for a job like this, including filling out numerous reports, questionnaires, filing for fees, W9’s etc.
- 15,000 officials (approximate)
- $60 fee for permit (based on doing just one sport)
- $900,000 total (approximate)
The problem won’t be solved for ‘blaming’ the parents conduct. It also won’t be solved by pleading for new officials every once in a while on social media. The OHSAA and member schools need to make it a top priority of finding a solution. Don’t look for this crisis to end anytime soon…the atmosphere of that happening looks gloomy for the future.
Becoming an Official –