Lack of Referees a Worry for GHSA
According to a report from WJBF ABC-6, football officials are down 27 percent from previous years in the Aiken-Augusta region of The Peach State. Chip Huffman, the secretary assigner of the Augusta Association of Football Officials attributed the decline to the COVID-19 pandemic.Typically, the association has roughly 100 registered officials, Huffman told WJBF, but heading into the 2020 season he said they are in the low 70’s. He went on to add that it takes 75 to 80 officials to referee the dozen or so games in the Augusta area on a weekly basis.
“You know it’s just kind of a week-to-week thing, we are just going to have to survive each week really, kind of like the football game, we are going to have to survive this Friday and move to next Friday and see what happens,” Huffman told WJBF. “Our first week of the season, September 4, we are not overloaded with football games, we can cover those pretty easily. The second week of the season, the 11th we are loaded with football games.”
Registration deadlines for football officials have passed in Georgia, but Huffman said they are still in search of experienced officials.
“We can probably work something out if there are people out there who have experience and are willing to help,” Huffman told WJBF.
Just like the players, the officials will also have a new set of guidelines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Referees are asked not to carpool to games together and should arrive in uniform — avoiding the usage of locker rooms.
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The report continued by noting that Georgia is not alone in this referee shortage. Over the border in South Carolina, Ricky Robinson, the Palmetto State’s secretary official assigner, confirmed a similar issue to WJBF.
To read the full report from WJBF ABC-6 on the referee shortage in Georgia amid the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.