Texas referees say verbal abuse is forcing them from profession

July 24, 2018 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
A survey found that 80 percent of Texas high school football referees who left the profession in 2017 did so because of the constant verbal abuse that’s thrown their way.

The survey, released earlier this month, was conducted by the Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO). The findings are consistent with what’s happening in other states, some of which are trying to manage referee shortages that are reaching “crisis” levels.

The TASO indicated that some areas of the state, including West Texas, are dealing with a shortage of officials, while the Dallas area has maintained adequate numbers. But if current trends continue, state officials worry that referees will continue to leave. That could affect how high school football games are scheduled.

From the Dallas Morning News:

Recruiting efforts have been made to increase the numbers, but more officials are leaving than are joining. As the average age of officials keeps rising, there are more officials over 60 than under 30, and more than half of officials are 50 or older, according to TASO.

Half of a new recruiting classes leave by their first or second year, according to TASO, and an additional 20 percent leave after their fifth year.

Other factors working against attracting and retaining officials include irregular and inconvenient meeting times and an unorthodox recruiting approach from colleges, where they recruit young officials and train them instead of looking for experience.

New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Missouri and Tennessee are just a handful of other states that have expressed concern over the decline in referees. Some have invested in new recruiting efforts, and others (like Texas) have increased their pay to combat the issue.

Click here to read more from the Dallas Morning News.

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