Sports face referee shortages

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Greg Artman

Girls soccer referee gets close to the action.

Referee numbers have been steadily declining in the past decade throughout the country for high school sports. 

The pandemic has only escalated this problem. Due to COVID-19, less and less referees have been signing up to officiate. Wilsonville High School athletics has felt the consequences of this shortage. Many games from all sports, including soccer and football, have had to reschedule to a different date or play with fewer referees than usual. 

Jasmine Brown, sophomore goalie on varsity, says “it leaves us sometimes questioning the accuracy of the game because only a couple of people are trying to watch and officiate the whole field.” Sophomore Avery Devincenzi on the JV soccer team feels the same as Brown. Devincenzi adds “The inconsistency of the game schedule and the miscommunication between referees confuses us athletes and the coaches.” 

Assistant Principal and Athletic Director at Wilsonville High School, Dennis Burke says that they were fortunate as a league to make the rescheduling of games work early in the season. Burke also gives credit to the commissioners for making this all work. While Burke believes he has gotten pretty lucky so far with the ease of rescheduling and finding referees, he wonders due to the vaccine requirement put in place on October 18th, if this will affect the shortage even more. “there is a big push in finding ways to recruit and attain officials due to COVID-19 and the treatment they receive from adults and viewers during games.” says Burke. 

The national referee shortage has majorly affected fall sports and is leaving many people wondering how it will affect winter sports.

There is a big push in finding ways to recruit and attain officials due to COVID-19 as well as the treatment they receive from adults and viewers during games.”

— Dennis Burke