Tennessee association concerned about referee numbers
The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) reports that it lost about 300 officials since the last school year, and according to NewsChannel 5 there are currently 5,000 officials throughout the state.TSSAA Assistant Executive Director Gene Menees said the decline in interest can be partially attributed to the abuse referees face.
From NewsChannel 5:
“Some of the language they have to put up with, some of the actions they might have to cope with, some decide that sometimes it’s not worth it to for them to leave a family and put up with that for 2 or 3 hours,” Memees said.
Thomas Ritter, with the Middle Tennessee Football Officials Association, said while the Nashville area is not short, other nearby counties often need extra help to cover the games.
“We help out other associations at various times throughout the year,” Ritter said. “But there are weeks that we have to really scramble and try to put together some crews. We [have] some very young officials.”
Tennessee is not alone in facing referee shortages. Missouri, Oregon, Indiana and Michigan are having similar problems replacing those who are leaving the profession. Some states have doubled the workload on referees, and they fear it could lead to burnout.
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