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Is $ the Answer to the Shortage of Officials?


Bobref
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This guy thinks so. I think it’s “an” answer, but not “the” answer.

https://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/sports/article_99b0d308-9173-11ec-b038-77c3f1609b35.html

Only way to rectify shortage of officials is pay up

ZACK NALLY "Keep Pounding" column

Feb 19, 2022 

There was already an officials shortage before the coronavirus pandemic, but the last two years haven’t appeared to help the cause.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) reported this week that a survey of state high school associations revealed that approximately 50,000 officials are no longer in the workforce since the 2018-2019 season, the last full season unaffected by the pandemic.

An editorial released by NFHS CEO Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff via HighSchoolOT.com detailed a situation wherein officials nearing retirement age were pushed into it by the challenges of the pandemic.

To address the issue, the NFHS is planning a first-ever National Officials Consortium Summit in April to address the vacancies and how new officials can be recruited. The summit will also be attended by the NCAA and more than 30 national-level sports organizations including governing bodies for Olympic sports.

The issue persists nationally, but we may see a significant impact locally as spring sports prepares for the new season in March.

At the conference tournament basketball games at West Carteret on Thursday, baseball coach Brooks Jernigan was on a Zoom call discussing options this spring concerning the umpire shortage. The potential challenges are so great that doubleheaders with four teams at one site was floated as a possible solution.

Just before the pandemic started, the N.C. High School Athletic Association reported an 11-percent drop in officials. A 17,000-person survey held by the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) in 2017 reported that there were “more officials over the age of 60 than under 30.”

Low pay, long training with little compensation and poor attitudes toward officials from coaches, players and fans are all primary reasons for the growing shortage. There is also the growth of fledgling sports, such as girls lacrosse and girls wrestling. Like the officials shortage of the 1980s due to a boom in soccer growth, the addition of more matches and games only compounds the already difficult situation.

The NFHS has created the #BecomeAnOfficial Program, but the recruitment efforts are falling short. The organization, among others, is calling for improved behavior toward officials to help encourage would be applicants.

In this reporter’s opinion, though, the shortage comes down to the almighty dollar. Officials are responsible for their own equipment, their gas and time spent in travel, and pay only ranges from $50 for a volleyball game to $100 for a basketball doubleheader.

Like many employers are learning right now, raising the pay is the only sure way to attract new talent. In the same way, winning makes problems go away in sports, money makes all the other challenges of being an official go away.

If you want more officials, pay up. That’s the only real solution and one that’s needed right now to avoid a debilitating problem that is only going to grow worse.

 

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4 minutes ago, Impartial_Observer said:

I have no interest in funding trips to Florida. Just at a point in my life where everyone else’s kids aren’t a priority for me. 

But you mentioned to me about funding an anniversary trip/s.  That is what gave me the idea.

Everybody saves and spends differently.

5 minutes ago, Impartial_Observer said:

I have no interest in funding trips to Florida. Just at a point in my life where everyone else’s kids aren’t a priority for me. 

Which is completely up to you.

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On 4/20/2022 at 12:39 PM, Impartial_Observer said:

I have no interest in funding trips to Florida. Just at a point in my life where everyone else’s kids aren’t a priority for me. 

Sometimes my oldest son tests whether my own are a priority for me.  Something about 16 year old boys that makes you think tigers eating their young might be on to something.

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23 hours ago, foxbat said:

Sometimes my oldest son tests whether my own are a priority for me.  Something about 16 year old boys that makes you think tigers eating their young might be on to something.

I often opined during my child rearing years, now having children of my own makes me understand why some species eat their young. 

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Texas and Georgia pay almost twice what we are paid in Indiana. They have similar shortages. That's why I don't think pay is ultimately a huge factor. It may have an impact on the short term but that's it.

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Saw this on Facebook. Notices like this are going to be more and more commonplace. And yet, when I turn on the TV, all I see is replays of Kyle Schwarber throwing an absolute hissy fit after he got called out on a pitch that, according to the TV strike zone, was an inch or two outside. And we wonder why it is proving so difficult to eradicate abusive behavior toward officials.

“Players and Coaches,

We are at a crossroads with player behavior.  Due to poor player behavior; we are losing umpires, losing field permits, and our game is in jeopardy. That MUST change. We must change to protect the game we all love and ensure a future where we are still able to take the field. We can no longer watch while players behave poorly each weekend. Players have become comfortable with mistreating directors, umpires, opponents, fans, and honestly anyone in the park. This ends now. We have given teams every chance possible to behave and have not seen the change we need. This has forced us to implement a much more strict policy to protect our game. This past weekend (Pikes Peak NIT) alone we had threats to “Take it to the parking lot”, players in an umpire's face, eliminated players antagonizing teams, slides with the intent to hurt opposing players, and in general, poor sportsmanship from teams all around. This was a relatively mild event. None of these things can be tolerated and are unacceptable moving forward. If you think any of these things belong in the game, please save us and yourself time and find another place to play. There are plenty of organizations that run events that will not be as strict and they will be a much better fit for you. We ask that you withdraw from our events now. Our park is not a place for you to come drink too much, smoke weed, and take out your frustrations from life on everyone around. We understand being competitive and having the desire to win, but many take it far beyond this and make it personal. Umpires are going to make mistakes and people need to learn to have a respectful conversation, instead of throwing a fit. We want to foster the spirit of competition and being the best players you can be. We will not foster treating people like garbage and trying to cause fights. Moving forward, teams that come to the park and cause issues will be withdrawn from future events. We will start suspending the whole team and having each individual player go through the appeal process if they feel they had no involvement. If you don't like that, then I suggest  you start checking your teammates and holding them accountable.  I am not going to waste our time and have a conversation any longer. I will remove the team from our events and we will move forward. We are ok if you disagree with this. You do not have to spend money with our organization. We are looking for teams that are interested in the most competitive and organized events possible. Please be honest with yourself and decide if our standards are a good fit for you, or if another organization has events that offer what you are looking for. We hope this will help ensure a bright future for our organization and give us the opportunity to focus on providing the best events possible without spending so much time babysitting adults and worrying about conduct. We look forward to our future events and moving forward with the players that are interested in developing their abilities.

Sincerely, 

Colorado USSSA”

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2 hours ago, Bobref said:

Saw this on Facebook. Notices like this are going to be more and more commonplace. And yet, when I turn on the TV, all I see is replays of Kyle Schwarber throwing an absolute hissy fit after he got called out on a pitch that, according to the TV strike zone, was an inch or two outside. And we wonder why it is proving so difficult to eradicate abusive behavior toward officials.

“Players and Coaches,

We are at a crossroads with player behavior.  Due to poor player behavior; we are losing umpires, losing field permits, and our game is in jeopardy. That MUST change. We must change to protect the game we all love and ensure a future where we are still able to take the field. We can no longer watch while players behave poorly each weekend. Players have become comfortable with mistreating directors, umpires, opponents, fans, and honestly anyone in the park. This ends now. We have given teams every chance possible to behave and have not seen the change we need. This has forced us to implement a much more strict policy to protect our game. This past weekend (Pikes Peak NIT) alone we had threats to “Take it to the parking lot”, players in an umpire's face, eliminated players antagonizing teams, slides with the intent to hurt opposing players, and in general, poor sportsmanship from teams all around. This was a relatively mild event. None of these things can be tolerated and are unacceptable moving forward. If you think any of these things belong in the game, please save us and yourself time and find another place to play. There are plenty of organizations that run events that will not be as strict and they will be a much better fit for you. We ask that you withdraw from our events now. Our park is not a place for you to come drink too much, smoke weed, and take out your frustrations from life on everyone around. We understand being competitive and having the desire to win, but many take it far beyond this and make it personal. Umpires are going to make mistakes and people need to learn to have a respectful conversation, instead of throwing a fit. We want to foster the spirit of competition and being the best players you can be. We will not foster treating people like garbage and trying to cause fights. Moving forward, teams that come to the park and cause issues will be withdrawn from future events. We will start suspending the whole team and having each individual player go through the appeal process if they feel they had no involvement. If you don't like that, then I suggest  you start checking your teammates and holding them accountable.  I am not going to waste our time and have a conversation any longer. I will remove the team from our events and we will move forward. We are ok if you disagree with this. You do not have to spend money with our organization. We are looking for teams that are interested in the most competitive and organized events possible. Please be honest with yourself and decide if our standards are a good fit for you, or if another organization has events that offer what you are looking for. We hope this will help ensure a bright future for our organization and give us the opportunity to focus on providing the best events possible without spending so much time babysitting adults and worrying about conduct. We look forward to our future events and moving forward with the players that are interested in developing their abilities.

Sincerely, 

Colorado USSSA”

One thing I've started seeing, and it seems to be with a preponderance of teams from outside of Indiana at travel games, is parents aggressively challenging almost every call that the umps make and starting early in pool play to set patterns of intimidation.  Saw over the weekend where parents were sitting on the fenceline between home and the dugout ... and not in the bleachers ... and yelling about everything including where the umpire was standing in the field.  The plate umpire finally had enough, ejected one of the people and called for a supervisor.  From what I could hear of the discussion, it was apparent that this program had been doing the same thing the day before in pool play and it was just the one obnoxious parent ... it was programmatic.  Sad thing is it was just an 11U game. 

Luckily I've only seen the item above, kids disrespecting the umps, a couple of times over the year, but I have noticed more and more kids talking back to their coaches or acting out during games and doing stuff like turning away from the coach when he's talking to them, talking back, throwing helmets, not giving the coach the ball when he comes to the mound to change pitchers, etc.  I can't believe parents let their kids do that; especially in a game situation.  My older boy was with me in the stands at the younger one's game one time when a kid on the opposing team started pulling some stuff like and yelling at his coach about being pulled from a game.  didn't help that the parent was also yelling at the coach for "taking him out too soon."  Realize that the kid had just given up his fifth consecutive hit in the inning and had already walked a couple of batters.  I looked at my older boy and shook my head.  He looked at me and said, "That wouldn't happen with us [he and his brother].  We'd be out in the car in the parking lot and getting ready for a long ride home and it would have nothing to do with the coach's decision."  I told him, "D*mn right!"  They both know, with a dad as a former coach, that my philosophy is you don't embarrass your coach in public and you don't challenge his calls.  If you disagree, you, the player, schedules a meeting with him and go to his office or stay after practice, and discuss it with him as adults ... even my 11 year old.  

Parents need to be better so their kids can be better so the kind of stuff in your post don't start becoming acceptable behavior as they get older.

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On 4/20/2022 at 10:44 AM, gonzoron said:

How many years have you been an official?

Gonna throw in MY answer.... 

 

Baseball:  38 Years  (9 State Finals) 

Football:  22 Years (3 State Finals) 

And apparently I am now a "Senior" citizen....  56, I guess I am OLD now.   😒

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9 hours ago, Yuccaguy said:

Gonna throw in MY answer.... 

 

Baseball:  38 Years  (9 State Finals) 

Football:  22 Years (3 State Finals) 

And apparently I am now a "Senior" citizen....  56, I guess I am OLD now.   😒

Yeah, those AARP solicitations are funny ... until you start looking for them in the mail. 🙂

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22 minutes ago, Impartial_Observer said:

3B33DCF1-8E98-446C-82B1-E68C0DA62407.png

I would venture to guess most of those Baseball games were frosh/C games. 

This isn't even hitting at the trickle-down effect of youth sports.  Most weekly games for travel and most rec are down to a single ump and even tournament play is starting to see single umps in the field for pool play and even some of the early morning games on bracket play.

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25 minutes ago, foxbat said:

This isn't even hitting at the trickle-down effect of youth sports.  Most weekly games for travel and most rec are down to a single ump and even tournament play is starting to see single umps in the field for pool play and even some of the early morning games on bracket play.

 It sure what the answer is. The group that handles BA/SB officials at Grand Park are throwing money at them to get them to come. My SB partner has been going up there and doing BA 20 bucks for a hotel room by yourself, they’re offering free equipment and uniforms to new umps. He gets an extra money in their first game of the day. So this weekend his first game of the day he got $125.
 

All this is well and good, but all they’re doing is robbing umpires from other organizations. 
 

My last tournament I had four diamonds going. We were suppose to have a 3-man rotation on every diamond. Due to sickness, not showing up, sending a guy home, by Sunday I was down to two 5-man rotations, with an Ironman on one diamond the last three games. So parents when the tournament director is dealing with stuff like this like every day anymore, he’s probably not going to care that little Suzi got rung up on a pitch that was “foot” off the plate. Tell little Suzy to get the bat off her shoulder, his strike  zone has been all over the place all day!

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Well the IHSAA is raising the playoff game renumeration by $10 across the board at all rounds of all tournament officiating.  They are also DOUBLING the mileage from .25 to .50 per mile.  

Another tweak is to the 300 mile limit.  They are easing the limit to allow IN schools to play teams OUTSIDE of the 300 mile limit.... No further information has been provided in this circumstance.  

I am assuming that the changes in the BASKETBALL tournament will also be mirrored in baseball;  This would ADD to the number of officials that could attain Regional status and help them out with points to advancement, in both sports.  

https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/high-school/2022/06/23/ihsaa-basketball-tourney-format-changes-approved/7712674001/

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