Technical Foul: Dwindling Number of Referees Affecting High School Athletics< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – For Trimble Assistant Athletic Director Joe Richards, some Friday mornings are very stressful as he looks for referees to officiate a football game just hours before kickoff, and he’s not the only one. According to an article published by the National Federation of High School sports, approximately 50,000 officials have quit working high school competitions since the 2018-19 season.
Nathan Jones is one official who is still working; however, he feels many officials have added pressure due to the lack of numbers and their age. The average age of officials is mid 50s.
“It’s getting older as it goes on, so when you think about the wear and tear on athletes, there’s also wear and tear on officials, and so there’s bumps and bruises,” he said.
Another issue that officials face is sportsmanship, as many officials believe that sportsmanship is getting worse, according to a study by the National Association of Sports Officials. Eastern Head Football Coach Jason Jackson knows he needs to be better about sportsmanship.
“Keep working to get better at self-evaluation, I know I can get better at dealing with officials” he said.
Jackson also thinks that there are problems with some fans interactions with refs nationwide.
“It is shame that it comes to the point where they are fighting, like throwing fists, not just verbally,” he said.