Michigan ADs Struggle to Find Referees

December 3, 2020 / Athletic AdministrationFootballSwimmingVolleyball
With high school sports suspended for at least another week, Michigan athletic directors have been scrambling to find referees for all of their upcoming events.

Finding referees has been an ongoing issue for athletic directors, as the Herald Review pointed out, with numerous scheduling conflicts arising due to the issue.

Now, with winter sports waiting at the starting line, ADs from The Great Lakes State are looking to avoid similar conflicts that came up during the fall season.

“We have had difficulty finding football officials a few times,” Pine River High School AD Shaw Ruppert said to The Herald Review. “We ended up moving to a new date to play. I do anticipate difficulties finding officials for basketball and baseball — no one wants to officiate with a mask on.”

Jay Wallace, the athletic director for Evart Public Schools in Michigan, told The Herald Review he already had a difficult time scheduling referees for events prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic has exasperated the process. Big Rapids AD Dawn Thompson agreed with Wallace’s experience, telling the paper the proverbial referee shortage has gotten worse during the pandemic.

“Normally we always had three at a game, but changing our game times to earlier in the evening made that more difficult,” Thompson told The Herald Review. “If we are unable to find officials for an event, we will need to be flexible with our schedule and reschedule.”

The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) held its fall season for the majority of its sports on August 21. Football, after initially being pushed to the spring season, held six-game regular seasons beginning on September 18. On November 15, the state’s department of health and human services announced a three-week pause in athletic activity that would end December 9.

Currently, the MHSAA representative council has the remaining playoffs for volleyball slated to take place from December 15 to December 19; swimming and diving on December 22 and 23; and football from December 15 through December 29.

To read the full story from The Herald Review on the referee shortage in Michigan, click here