Texas facing ‘crisis-level’ shortage of high school football referees

July 12, 2017 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
Texas, a state known for the competitive environment of high school football, is facing a serious shortage of officials just months before the 2017 season is scheduled to kick off.

Photo: Kevin Hoffman

Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO) Executive Director Michael Fitch has called it a “crisis-level” shortfall of referees, according to the Houston Chronicle. Houston’s chapter alone is somewhere between 50 and 200 referees short for the upcoming season.

Some in the industry said the abuse officials take from coaches and parents is likely the reason for lack of interest.

From the article:

With just a day left before the soft deadline for new officials — July 9 — time is running out for the Houston TASO chapter to fill its ranks and ensure full crews for the various middle school, junior varsity and varsity high school contests throughout the football season.

Crew chief and trainer Eric Dumatrait has high hopes, but moderate expectations, for the final round of new official trainings.

“Hopefully, on July 9, I have 200 people [in the Board of Directors Observation Room at Klein Memorial Stadium],” Dumatrait said. “That’s the best case. Right now, I’m sitting at about 80 or 90 new officials. If I get another 100, I’ll be happy. We’ll still have fallen short of our goal, but I think that’s our best-case this year. If I can get 150 between now and then, that’d be a whole lot better. We’ll see what happens.”

The referee shortage is not an issue unique to Texas. Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, Iowa, Michigan and South Carolina are having similar problems. Last year, the Oregon Athletic Officials Association similarly called the shortage a “crisis.”

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