REFEREES ARE QUITTING, LACK OF RESPECT ON THE FIELD MAY BE THE REASON
NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Fall sports are kicking into gear, but high school sports teams are having a difficult time getting referees to stick around. Sports like soccer and field hockey don’t have enough officials and one local athletic director in Newburyport is attributing it to the lack of respect referees are shown on the field.
“What we’re hearing is it’s the way they’re treated, the lack of respect shown to them, the game experience isn’t great,” Kyle Hodsdon, Newburyport High School Athletic Director told WBZ’s Drew Moholland.
The referee shortage has had an impact on game scheduling, limiting when games can be played and causing some to be scheduled back‑to‑back.
Since the 2018/2019 season, about 50,000 referees discontinued their service as high school officials, according to a survey put out by The National Federation of State High School Associations. Dana Pappas, Director of Officiating Services at NFHS, said 43 states have reported referee losses and several larger states have yet to report which would likely increase the number.
Pappas said unsportsmanlike behavior from students, couches, parents, and fans all contributed to the referee shortage, in addition to the pandemic‑related challenges, on the NFHS website.