SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Many schools across Iowa are starting to feel a shortage in referees this Fall. However, schools in the Siouxland area don’t have a problem with getting those officials.
“Going into our season, our officials have been hired. We are in good shape, with the fall sports coming around. Typically an athletic director will hire their officials a year in advance, some have them two to three years in advance if they’re lucky enough to get them,” said Brian DeJong of Hinton High School.
While Siouxland schools currently don’t feel the referee shortage, the athletic director at Kingsley-Pierson Community High School, Nicole Goodwin, said it’s only a matter of time before it happens.
“We’re in dire need, across the state and the nation, specifically in Northwest Iowa to get some new officials. The ones that we have have been in it forever and they’re really trying to do some recruiting and mentoring programs in our state,” said Goodwin.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association (ISHAA) reported losing 200 referees from the previous year. Lewie Curtis of the IHSAA said the Association has seen people retiring, but not many filling their slots.
“It’s easy to see the negative impacts of some of the behavior of whether it be fans or other people, spectators at events,” said Curtis.
Curtis added that while their numbers are low at the moment, they’re hoping to spring back up.
“We’re shooting to try to get back up to around 5,000 in two or three years. That would be our goal, a pretty lofty goal, but one still worth trying to obtain,” said Curtis.
While many schools have their Fall Season referees ready to go, the Summer Season was a struggle for school districts trying to get officials for baseball.