MHSAA dealing with potential high school officials shortage
In roughly a decade, the number of high school officials in the Michigan High School Athletic Association has dropped by 2,500 officials (from 12,500 to 10,000).
And now, in a story written by The Detroit News, the MHSAA and fellow officials are voicing their concerns about a potential shortage in seasons and years to come.“I don’t think we’re at (the point of a crisis) yet. And also, when you use those kind of terms, it’s almost like, ‘Well why would I want to get involved in it, you talk about how terrible it is,'” MHSAA director Brent Rice said in the story. “But I tell the guys at the local level that by the time it becomes a problem for them, it’s too late.”
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The shortage of referees has also led to scheduling issues for those that are tasked with securing officials for sporting events in school districts. Bob Czech, who schedules most referees and umpires for Oakland County, Michigan, is among those experiencing the headaches.
Czech has about 350 officials in the Southeastern Michigan Officials Association and said he works five to seven hours some days, making changes and scrambling to find officials after illnesses or work conflicts arise. “There’s some days that are less difficult, but there’s nothing easy about it,” Czech said.
The story gives great insight into the concerns of the MHSAA, some of the headaches that an officials shortage can cause in the world of high school sports and what the associations plans are to try to combat the shortage.