IHSAA and MHSAA still looking for officials to fight shortages

NOW: IHSAA and MHSAA still looking for officials to fight shortages

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The IHSAA and MHSAA are making the call for more qualified men and women to put on the stripes and officiate games after seeing a decline in numbers over the past 10 years, especially following the pandemic.

While they say the numbers are bouncing back from the pandemic, and that they're able to staff scheduled games and matches, they're still finding themselves spreading their officials thin especially when games need to be rescheduled.

"This is the state of officiating in Michigan. I would say it's starting to bump back up. Things were certainly in a tough place after covid hit in 2020, but things are at least showing a little bit of recovery,” said Geoff Kimmerly the Communications Director for the MHSAA.

While he said things are getting better, they are still fighting the nearly 20% loss they saw across sports and levels with a number of methods like moving some game times and having fewer officials for certain games or matches.

They once had over 10,000 officials across the state of Michigan, now they are hoping to break 8,000 by this spring.

This issue is not unique to Michigan, the IHSAA who licenses over 6,000 officials across Indiana says they are also working on new routes to obtain the people necessary to ensure the games go on.

"At the end of the day, without officials we don’t play, so that’s always been a concern. We always remember to stress to fans and parents, that officials are human beings, and we need to treat them with respect,” said Brian Lewis, Assistant Commissioner of IHSAA.

They are looking for officials from high school age for what they call “sports empty nesters” or parents whose kids may have grown out of sports to register.

If you are interested, you can check out their websites for the chance to start at lower-level matches and the chance to work up.



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