KHSAA looks for more referees with officials looking to retire

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky High School Athletic Association says its facing a referee shortage. Current officials and members of the association believe that there’s a number of reasons why people are abandoning the position. A big part of it is how refs are treated on the field.

“You have to be thick skinned to be an official and you have to realize most of the times they are yelling at the striped shirt and not the person,” explains Keith Morgan with the Central Kentucky Football Officials Association.

According to the KHSAA, there’s been instances of bad treatment off the field as well.

“Sometimes, we got kids telling officials after a call or after they’re ejected. I’m going to kill you these people are tired they don’t want to put up with it,” explains Butch Cope with the KHSAA

What’s also concerning to Cope, Is the lack of interest in becoming an official among young people, especially from high school athletes closing-in on graduation

“I said would any of you be interested in licensed soccer official or basketball official when you graduate? And all of them but one say no I would not..I would not want to put up with what they have to put up with,” explains Cope.

The KHSAA says the amount of refs needed across the state is overwhelming, especially because a lot of the current referees are in their fifties and trying to retire. Right now the athletic association says about 100-125 football officials are needed and about 75 soccer refs. Cope says these numbers are close to where they were last year. The problem is that high schools are back to playing their regular number of games. This means more refs are needed, forcing some schools to bring in officials from Ohio and Illinois. If this trend continues, it could result in a major “time out” for some teams.

“If you do not have the officials. Games will not be played they’re be rescheduled,” explains Cope.

According to the KHSAA the impact can be just as great on the student-athletes, not just for fun, but to further their education and improve their chances of getting a scholarship.

“It’s not about officials verses coaches and coaches verses officials or fans verses officials at the end of the day its making sure kids have a chance to participate on the field or court,” explains Cope.

If you’d like to apply for a position as a referee, follow the link here.

Categories: Local News, News

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