Referee Shortage Could Cause Problems

  • 7/14/2017 3:42:33 PM
  • Jeff Alan
  • Local Sports

MANSFIELD, OHIO-  Lack of certified OHSAA football officials could be a problem in the near future.  That according to Greg Williams who is the Secretary/Treasurer, Instructor of the Firelands Area Football Officials Association.  

"I don't think for the moment, but in the next two years, we're really going to have a shortage.  I've had officiating classes I've been doing it for about ten years.  The last two to three years I've had two to three at the most.  Previously I've had five, six, seven, and up to eight.  It's getting to the point where we're not getting young people coming to class.  If this continues then we are going to run into a shortage.  With the percentages, and over 700 OHSAA member schools playing football in Ohio you can see it could detrimental to the sport."  When asked Williams said he really couldn't put his finger on why the numbers for new officials are down.  

One of the reasons for the shortage of officials could be that it's a tough job.  Fans and coaches get after officials.  Williams says just how much depends on the level.  "Lower levels, middle school, freshman, JV's, it's not too bad.  Seems like some of the coaches think they know more than officials.  Some coaches do know a lot, but they don't know the ins and outs like we do.  Friday nights you have competitive teams and coaches want to put their team in the best position to win, but we have to tell them that's the call, that's the rule and explaining it to them, that's the situation, this is why the penalty was called."  

Williams adds that while officials are out there, they are not looking to throw a flag on every play.  He says many officials do their share of talking to the players.  "We're not coaching, but we're doing preventative officiating.  Telling them what they should not do so they don't get penalized.  From time-to-time we also let them know when they make a great play."

If the day comes where there are, not enough officials Williams says it will throw a monkey wrench into AD's plans.  "We have this one day when we can get officials, we'll play a game or play double headers with one officiating crew and that gets tough."  If there are no officials, there are no games.  That's the bottom line if it keeps up."

As to how to get the numbers turned around, Williams says officiating is a chance for younger guys to stay in the game after their playing days are done and a chance to build friendships with other officials. "The pay is not great but you can make up to $65 to $70 dollars a game at the varsity level," says Williams.  For post season, OHSAA certified officials make up to $140 a game.

Williams has officiating classes at Shelby Senior High School every Monday and Wednesday at 6 pm.   The cost is $85 which includes books, materials, and the initial OHSAA license.  Classes run six to seven weeks.  To contact Greg Williams call or text 419-565-7322.



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