NCHSAA battling referee shortage as prep sports return

Travon Miles Image
Thursday, August 18, 2022
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Officials at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association say they are trying a number of things to remedy the lack of referees.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Officials at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association say they are trying a number of things to remedy something that is becoming a national issue: the lack of referees.

"This is a global issue," said NCHSAA Assistant Commissioner and Director of Officials Cecil Mock. "We are really working hard to fix this."

The National Federation of High School Athletic Associations reported that it lost more than 50,000 referees since the 2018-19 season. One could point to a number of reasons why officials are removing their pinstripes.

"I think one of the reasons why we can't get (young) people in, is the level of sportsmanship from coaches (and) parents," said Jerry Talley, Regional Supervisor. "Monday night, first night of the season, I observed some fans yelling at officials, and I'm thinking, this is our first night. I think something's got to change."

Mock and Talley called for on-site administrators to step it up when fans cross the line of personal, professional, and profane.

NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said it will take a village to change the narrative of being an official.

"Parents have to help us, fans have to help us, coaches have to help us, players have to help us, and then we as administrators must all pull together," Tucker said.

Tucker, Mock, and Talley all said the association's focus hasn't been on the dwindling number of officials, but rather on what can be done going forward.

"There are a number of things we have in place," said Mock. "We're doing what we can and then will find some other avenues to do it (recruit).