ATHLETICS: A key component in the face of the shortage | News, Sports, Jobs

It’s great to see high school athletes get back into the action as they should be this fall. Last year around this time, we all remember, how much every sporting event was due to the pandemic.

This year is far from perfect, but it has produced some fantastic matches and individual performances. But throughout all of this, there is a looming problem that begins to impact schedules and events.

Who wants to arbitrate?

In an OBSERVER article earlier this week, Section 6 Executive Director Mark DeFilippo notes that there is “a huge shortage” of officials across the region, state and nation. Part of the problem, he assumes, is due to COVID-19. Another may be long-time referees who are aging.

Another unspoken problem, unfortunately, can revolve around the fans attending local competitions. Officials at any sporting event can often be inundated with boos or cat calls once a questionable decision is made. Who wants this aggravation?

Obtaining new blood to participate is not an easy solution. “We haven’t found a good way to get people interested in officiating. We have tried to remove membership fees, by increasing the amount paid to modified level and (junior varsity) referees ”, DeFilippo said. “We tried to advertise, encouraging high school and college athletes. If anyone can find the answer, we would be willing to listen. Unfortunately, like I said, it’s not a western New York issue, it’s a national issue.

Sport is vital for our youth and our communities. These games, in the future, could be compromised if the pool of officials continues to shrink.

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