Study: 80% of Nebraska officials quit within first three years

January 30, 2024 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
According to recent results shared from a 2022 survey from the Nebraska Schools Activities Association (NSAA), nearly 80% of sports officials quit within their first three years.

The survey found the most common reason given for leaving the position was poor sportsmanship.

nebraskaA recent story from detailed the results of the NSAA referee’s survey. Below is an excerpt from the story.

“Harsh reality is they’re not very good yet; they’re learning,” he said. “And they get run off because of a negative experience or something of that nature. Or they get put in a game that was overwhelming to them.”

Ray Manske, an officiate for baseball and basketball games, said he’s been doing the job since he was 15 years old.

He said he enjoys training younger officials, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

“They’re just not battle-tested enough, and you have to develop some very tough skin,” he said. “Learn what to address, what not to, what to ignore.”

Manske said the last thing he wants to do is eject spectators, coaches, or players from the game, but the environment around sporting events can get emotional.

He said judging close plays puts a lot of pressure on an official to make the right call.

“Out of the 100% of people that are there, you’re going to make 50% of them happy,” he said.

Neuhaus said the NSAA is trying to incentivize and retain officials, but the lack of help has started to have an effect.

“If you don’t have enough officials, you lose contests,” he said. “You don’t play the games. Or like in football, instead of playing on Friday night, you play on Thursday night. That’s not ideal. If we had more officials, we could play all our games on Friday nights.”

To read the full story from about Nebraska’s referee shortage, click here.