Oklahoma facing shortage of basketball, football referees

Just one month before the fall high school sports season begins, Oklahoma is facing a significant shortage of qualified referees for football and basketball.

Oklahoma is not alone, as more than a dozen states have expressed concern over their referee numbers. Texas and Oregon have referred to the shortage as a “crisis.”

One Oklahoma official told KSWO that low numbers means under-qualified referees will work games this fall. “That’s because we either do that or we have the game canceled,” he said. “We just don’t have enough bodies to go around anymore.”

From the article:

Todd Dilbeck, the director of officials for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, said they now have training camps at colleges across the state and mentoring programs. They want to encourage young people to become officials and feel like they have people to learn from.

“They do classroom teaching along with mechanics in the classroom, on the court demonstrations, on the court experience with teams that are playing,” said Dilbeck.

Dilbeck said they especially like to hire those who used to play sports and are familiar with the games, but are willing to train anyone who’s up for the job.

One referee in Oklahoma told KSWO that sportsmanship and social media/technology have contributed to difficulties in recruiting new referees. Associations in other states have blamed parents and other fans.

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