LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – A shortage of referees could lead to the cancellation of youth sports games this fall.
“We’re at this point where there are examples across the state where games are canceled every week due to referee shortages,” said Chad Collins, state referee administrator for US Soccer in the Kentucky and Kentucky General Counsel. High School Sports Association.
For football, they lose 50% of referees every year and have had to go the extra mile to ensure games are officiated.
Collins said high school football and basketball are even more affected and have lost twenty referees statewide this year.
The shortage, which Collins says affects all sports in the United States, is due to multiple factors, namely the growing misbehavior of parents, coaches and even some players.
“The attacks are very viscous in nature and that’s one thing where people say I don’t want to do that,” Collins said.
“I think parents have to ask themselves if they are part of the problem.”
Collins breaks down that shortage into more than just referees leaving.
It’s also due to the growing number of people taking part in organized sports in recent years.
“We have a lot more games every night across the state, but we have the same number or a little less referees, which meant we were falling further and further behind,” Collins said.
Mike Vanhooser, general manager of the Lexington Sporting Club, said two or three years ago that there were about 300 football games played in the fall that required referees. With 3 organizations developing the sport, that number doubled to 600 games.
For context, he explained, their 336 matches alone will require filling around 900 referee slots in total.
“Every week we try to find enough bodies to cover games, we always try to find referees for this weekend,” Vanhooser said.