All over the country, athletic departments are lamenting the pains of the referee shortage to officiate games.
Although much has been said about what can be done to offset this shortage, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) is taking action.
how the NJSIAA has started a program that will provide a $300 rebate to any new official who joins an NJSIAA-recognized officials chapter and completes all the requirements for certification.
Below is an excerpt from The Press of Atlantic City story.
“Officiating is a great way to give back to your community,” Tony Maselli, the NJSIAA’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “For those who are committed to helping young people, while also being fans of athletics, officiating games is an ideal way to teach sportsmanship and help teenagers learn valuable life lessons.”
The rebate is intended to cover all or almost all start-up costs for a new official, including registration and uniform purchase, the release said. To register or learn more about becoming an official, go to njsiaa.org/officials.
“New officials have an opportunity to make a huge, positive difference in the lives of young people,” Mark Bitar, the NJSIAA officials recruiting coordinator, said in the release. “And, beyond providing a significant service to others, officiating offers an opportunity to make extra income, stay in shape, and expand your personal network.”
The National Federation of High School Sports estimates 50,000 high school officials, or about 20%, have resigned since 2008.
The National Association of Sports Officials reports registration of new officials across the country is down about 30% for this upcoming scholastic season, the NJSIAA said. The shortage of officials causes postponements, rescheduling, and cancellations.