NFHS Cites Referee Shortage in US as ‘Crisis Level’

October 26, 2021 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Since taking on the position of the executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), Dr. Karissa Niehoff has penned op-eds on issues surrounding high school athletics.

So when the ever-growing referee shortage has suddenly reached a breaking point, Dr. Niehoff once again took to her op-ed column, The NFHS Voice, to drum up support.

referee shortage“There is a national crisis that exists today with regard to the number of officials available to officiate high school sports,” Niehoff stated in her video address.

In honor of National Coaches, Advisors, Officials, and Sponsors Week of #HSActivitiesMonth, Dr. Niehoff addressed how we, as coaches, administrators, student-athletes, and spectators, can ensure high school athletic contests aren’t vulnerable due to referee shortage.

Below is an excerpt from her NFHS Voice video message.

“This shortage that exists around all sports has caused contests to be moved, and programs to be canceled. We need more individuals to consider officiating high school sports. And we need players, coaches, parents, and other fans to be respectful and supportive to ensure that those individuals who currently officiating continue to do so.

“Coaches and administrators need to take care of officials. They need clear information about contest logistics. They appreciate a warm welcome, a secure place for their belongings, and an environment where good sportsmanship is enforced.

“Parents need to appreciate the time, sacrifice, and devotion these officials make to ensure high school sports are available to our nation’s youth. We need you to cheer positively for student-athletes — not criticize the officials. The profession is tougher than we might think. We must recognize that officials do their best out there. Every person has a role to play to ensure the success of high school sports. We must all work together to make sure the games continue to be available to the more than eight million participants in high school sports.”

To see the full video from Dr. Niehoff on the ongoing referee shortage and more op-ed columns, click here