Shortage of Officials Impacting Area High School Sporting Events
In recent years, the number of registered high school sports officials in Michigan has steadily been declining.
The coronavirus pandemic has only made matters worse.
Overall, the northern Michigan area has seen a decline of five football officiating crews, with another crew expected to fall apart soon. That’s 30 officials not participating this fall, which has created new challenges for Bill Parker, president of Northern Sports Officials Association.
“All the sports, we’re not putting the max number of officials that we could have on the field or court. We’re kind of having to reduce those numbers a little bit, too,” Parker said. “If we’re able to have the games played, that’s the biggest thing for the kids. If we’re able to get some people out there to help them have the games, that’s a big deal, too.”
If you are interested in becoming an official the Northern Sports Officials Association offers opportunities to shadow referees at sporting events throughout the year. You can also visit the MHSAA’s officials’ program page to learn more.