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radiodavel

Why Is There A Shortage Of High School Officials

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As an umpire, I can say that umpiring youth tournaments for Softball and Baseball is disturbing how parents treat officials.  "I'm sorry, I didn't realize that my call ruined Little AROD's future career."  It gets tiresome to say the least on how "adults" act so some get out as it is easier NOT to deal with it. 

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Here's a little glimpse into our local situation:

V game where ever Friday night, this week we're 2 1/2 hours from home. 

Saturday morning Frosh/JV DH starting at 10:00am

Youth league is wanting to start at 3:00, four games scheduled every 1:15.

Here's the long and short of it:

I stand to make 360 bucks by the time I leave Saturday night. My time is basically tied up from 2:45 Friday afternoon to 8:00 Saturday night. But me, my bionic hip and back are going to be shot for not only Saturday night, but I'm most likely going to spend the better part of Sunday morning convalescing. Then of course on Sunday I have to be 25 miles away at 6:00 for an association meeting. This is basically my life for the next six weeks, who wants it, because I certainly don't and while it's never been about the money, 360 dollars doesn't even come close to covering my time. 

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A few years ago I wrote an article that appeared in "High School Today," a publication of the National Federation of State High School Associations. The subject was why officials were leaving their avocation earlier than might otherwise be expected. The article leaned heavily on a substantial body of research conducted by the NFHS, as well as other organizations. The bottom line? Officials give up officiating early for 3 reasons. The first two, we can't do much about: employment issues and family issues. But the third reason was being fed up with the ever-increasing abuse and lack of respect from fans, coaches, players, media, etc. I maintain there are several things we can do about that third reason. It starts with ADs. The little announcement that some schools make pre-game about sportsmanship is nice, but nobody listens to it. It needs to be reinforced by people who are in the stands and have the authority to tell obnoxious fans to shut up or get out. ADs have to make it clear to their coaches that respect for officials is a condition of employment. Coaches have to be willing to pull the star player out of the game when he throws a tantrum or mouths off (In fairness, many coaches already do this.). In other words, we need more than lip service regarding the sportsmanship message that's supposed to be broadcast. Oh, a secure locker area, a bottle of water and a clean towel would be nice, too. ?

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I was going to stop officiating last year, it was my 25th year.  I decided not to stop, because the amount of officials is declining and not getting younger.  I attend meetings and I am still one of the younger people there.  I think a major problem is time.  If the game is at 7 on Fridays, you have an hour or more of travel time, and for some unknown reason, we are supposed to be on the field by 615.....how can you make it there if you work till 5?  You cannot.  Most schools leave the field at 630, so we often stand out and watch field (after doing our pregame jobs) or go into locker room.  Another problem with time is meetings.  The IHSAA took away 2 online meetings, forcing people to attend 6 in person.  This is alot of time that a person with job, family, etc just puts pressure on that person.  The meetings should be going the other way....with social media, video and online meeting apps, we should be doing more online meetings...not less.  I still enjoy it, I like being out there, but the travel to and from games, meeting times are making me rethink my decision......

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We defiantly need to get more and younger officials brought along, I will throw this out there as part of it as well, at least in some sports, and assume it is about across the board.  There are many younger officials out there that want to work games at levels they are not ready for.  It seems like in the past you could see guys move up, start at MS/elem, then see a few years doing JV games, and then in a few more doing varsity games.  Today it seems like so many want to just start at the top and not pay their dues. 

Part of this is out of necessity due to a shortage, but then they have bad experiences early because they are doing games they are not ready for, and get out because of it.  We had a rescheduled game a something a few years back and for the finals of a JV conference tourney game we had an official doing his 1st EVER game, needless to say that he was far from ready (we went 18-3 or something that year and the team were playing was close to that as well) for that game, but he had a horrible experience that night and not sure if still working games or not.  

In bball my fear came true when we went to 3 man crews everywhere (and in FB if we ever go to 7 for all games--although I realize that the talk in the other thread was just for the tourney, but bball started that way when they went to 3) you have to many doing games before they are ready to and it leads to bad experiences and young officials who could have been really good in a few years getting out because of it

 

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I know quite a few that left well before they should have because of the politics involving tournament advancement. 

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4 minutes ago, Impartial_Observer said:

Two schools looking for officials for this Friday.

My information was, at last count, there were approximately 70 scheduled varsity games around the state this season that still do not have officials assigned.

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12 minutes ago, bobref said:

My information was, at last count, there were approximately 70 scheduled varsity games around the state this season that still do not have officials assigned.

So what happens? Postpone to Saturday?

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On ‎3‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 6:59 PM, fbofficial said:

I know quite a few that left well before they should have because of the politics involving tournament advancement. 

This is the law of unintended consequences at work. Officials have been complaining to the IHSAA that the tournament advancement process is fundamentally flawed for the last 30 yrs. Perhaps this will be the impetus to get it changed. Realistically speaking, people will always complain that they should have advanced further in the tournament. But there is very little confidence in the officiating ranks that improvement is rewarded by advancement (among other flaws). A better way of assigning tournament officials won't do anything to recruit new officials. But it may allow us to keep officials longer, rather than them getting fed up with the system and leaving.

4 minutes ago, Impartial_Observer said:

So what happens? Postpone to Saturday?

I don't know if we're there yet. But at the present rate of attrition, we'll get there within a season or two.

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BoBref, 

I am looking to get into Football officiating.  I don't have aspiration of being a semi-state or state official off the bat, I just want to officiate the game I love.  What kind of recommendations do you give to a person just wanting to get started. 

 

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2 hours ago, FCFAN1990 said:

BoBref, 

I am looking to get into Football officiating.  I don't have aspiration of being a semi-state or state official off the bat, I just want to officiate the game I love.  What kind of recommendations do you give to a person just wanting to get started. 

 

The best thing you can do, besides getting your license from the IHSAA, is join a local officiating association and be active in it. You can read the rule book on your own. But the local association meetings, and the assistance of veteran officials as mentors, is where you learn the craft.

Edited by bobref

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I brought up this condrum a while back...  got voted down....smh.

 

Time to schedule Saturdays for VARSITY Football 

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11 hours ago, Yuccaguy said:

I brought up this condrum a while back...  got voted down....smh.

 

Time to schedule Saturdays for VARSITY Football 

Not saying I do this for the money, but there is no way I am giving up my Friday AND Saturday nights for $75/game.  

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2 hours ago, bobref said:

Oh, a secure locker area, a bottle of water and a clean towel would be nice, too. ?

I am very happy to say it's very rare we don't have these things. Schools generally are doing a much better job with hospitality. And the smaller towns and schools are usually much better.

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On 8/23/2017 at 9:34 AM, falconsfbref said:

I was going to stop officiating last year, it was my 25th year.  I decided not to stop, because the amount of officials is declining and not getting younger.  I attend meetings and I am still one of the younger people there.  I think a major problem is time.  If the game is at 7 on Fridays, you have an hour or more of travel time, and for some unknown reason, we are supposed to be on the field by 615.....how can you make it there if you work till 5?  You cannot.  Most schools leave the field at 630, so we often stand out and watch field (after doing our pregame jobs) or go into locker room.  Another problem with time is meetings.  The IHSAA took away 2 online meetings, forcing people to attend 6 in person.  This is alot of time that a person with job, family, etc just puts pressure on that person.  The meetings should be going the other way....with social media, video and online meeting apps, we should be doing more online meetings...not less.  I still enjoy it, I like being out there, but the travel to and from games, meeting times are making me rethink my decision......

Good observations, but I'm going to disagree with you on one of them. I think online meetings serve a purpose, but the really effective learning occurs in a setting where you can have a group of officials all looking at the same thing, and then discussing, probing, asking questions, etc. We lost a lot when the new rules meetings went online. We no longer have a chance to interact with coaches to educate them on the new rules. A lost opportunity. Online officials association meetings represent more lost opportunities for learning. I think we could get by with fewer meetings if we did them right, and there was a standardized content to the meetings so that every official in the state is seeing and hearing the same thing. The IFOA has been offering to do this for years for the IHSAA, but so far, no takers.

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On 8/14/2017 at 10:40 PM, Yuccaguy said:

I brought up this condrum a while back...  got voted down....smh.

 

Time to schedule Saturdays for VARSITY Football 

It looks like BTN is trying to help out with this.  Kudos to Purdue to allowing HS games to be played at Ross-Ade.  I still thing that it is wrong for the BIG 10 t schedule games on Friday nights though.

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8 hours ago, nmsu aggie said:

It looks like BTN is trying to help out with this.  Kudos to Purdue to allowing HS games to be played at Ross-Ade.  I still thing that it is wrong for the BIG 10 t schedule games on Friday nights though.

I've worked games on the river when Louisville has played Friday games, it decimates high school attendance. Friday nights are for high school, another reason to hate ESPN.

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On 8/14/2017 at 9:40 PM, Yuccaguy said:

I brought up this condrum a while back...  got voted down....smh.

 

Time to schedule Saturdays for VARSITY Football 

The head of our football program is meeting with ADs of two local conferences we assign ... for the purpose of deciding which of the games that don't yet have officials assigned will be moved to Saturday. That's this season's games, not some future year's.

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I cannot find a way to post.....so I will just ask and maybe BobRef can start a new topic......

Why can we not create a weekly training film?  I know the IFOA did it, but does not anymore.  It seems if coaches and or crews would put plays from Hudl or other site on a board, everyone can learn and improve.  I have watched film from state final crews and I have picked up bits to improve myself and crew.  I have also seen plays from my games, that I need to work on.  I have also seen other crews that have both good and bad.  Its all about learning and improving.   Just a thought and it would maybe help everyone be more consistent all over Indiana, and I think that is something coaches would like to see.  

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On 9/6/2017 at 12:59 PM, bobref said:

The head of our football program is meeting with ADs of two local conferences we assign ... for the purpose of deciding which of the games that don't yet have officials assigned will be moved to Saturday. That's this season's games, not some future year's.

I guess that didn't go so well.  Schools are not enamored with the idea of moving game-days.  It seems that some games will be officiated by 4-man crews.

We need officials!

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On 8/15/2017 at 1:11 PM, bobref said:

A few years ago I wrote an article that appeared in "High School Today," a publication of the National Federation of State High School Associations. The subject was why officials were leaving their avocation earlier than might otherwise be expected. The article leaned heavily on a substantial body of research conducted by the NFHS, as well as other organizations. The bottom line? Officials give up officiating early for 3 reasons. The first two, we can't do much about: employment issues and family issues. But the third reason was being fed up with the ever-increasing abuse and lack of respect from fans, coaches, players, media, etc. I maintain there are several things we can do about that third reason. It starts with ADs. The little announcement that some schools make pre-game about sportsmanship is nice, but nobody listens to it. It needs to be reinforced by people who are in the stands and have the authority to tell obnoxious fans to shut up or get out. ADs have to make it clear to their coaches that respect for officials is a condition of employment. Coaches have to be willing to pull the star player out of the game when he throws a tantrum or mouths off (In fairness, many coaches already do this.). In other words, we need more than lip service regarding the sportsmanship message that's supposed to be broadcast. Oh, a secure locker area, a bottle of water and a clean towel would be nice, too. ?

YES!  YES!  YES!

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39 minutes ago, Coach Ellenwood said:

It starts with ADs. The little announcement that some schools make pre-game about sportsmanship is nice, but nobody listens to it. It needs to be reinforced by people who are in the stands and have the authority to tell obnoxious fans to shut up or get out.

What if the officials are the ones who are obnoxious and disrespectful?  Have heard officials drop the F bomb to fans, have had one tell me it's not my fault your kids can't pass or dribble in a bball game (and in a year we won about 15 games no less!!!).  Had another tell the fans "I may be one point bad, but I am not 4" If the fans should be removed, should the officials also?  

Now I agree that there are man fans that go way over the line,  but at times it is the officials.  Of course most of the times I see someone asked to leave it is the official asking for them to be removed

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11 minutes ago, iubirdman said:

What if the officials are the ones who are obnoxious and disrespectful?  Have heard officials drop the F bomb to fans, have had one tell me it's not my fault your kids can't pass or dribble in a bball game (and in a year we won about 15 games no less!!!).  Had another tell the fans "I may be one point bad, but I am not 4" If the fans should be removed, should the officials also?  

Now I agree that there are man fans that go way over the line,  but at times it is the officials.  Of course most of the times I see someone asked to leave it is the official asking for them to be removed

YES!  YES!  YES!

Where has professionalism gone!  Oh yeah, and some stones.

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I agree, officials should not address the fans.  I think officials should only address and comment to the head coach of that sport as well, but that might be another topic.  Anyway, being an official takes a certain someone.  You have to love the sport, be willing to stand in harms way, and make a decision that 50% will like, and 50% will not like.  There just doesn't seem to be many that want to put themselves out there like that anymore.  I have been doing this for 26 years, I started when I was 18 right after graduation.  I go to many meetings and clinics, and I do not see more than a handful of others that are younger than my current age.  I really think the time and work committment has more to do with it than getting yelled at on the field....at least I hope so.

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