OHSAA Official Shortage

Alysa F., Staff Reporter

For many years the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA)  has been dealing with a loss of sports officials for junior high and high school. As of right now approximately 800 officials have dropped out of the program since the beginning of 2019. Many people say that the problem started when parents and students would comment to a call the official made and would make unnecessary remarks toward that official. If there are no more officials in the program, the sports teams will not be able to have games.

Bryan Hall is the administrator  for the OHSAA officiating program and is in charge of assigning games to the officials.  Bryan said “It’s sad and heartbreaking to hear about many officials not renewing their license due to people’s behavior. It also makes it really hard for the other officials because they have to uphold their jobs as well as some one else’s job.”

When any official has to take on more than four games a day it can lead to exhaustion, over working the body, and even cancelled gamesHall addressed the situation is mainly caused by older adults and the students pick up on the adults’ behavior. The teenagers act the same way the adults do because they think that’s how you’re supposed to act when you do not agree with the official.

When the heckling is started the person that started it is given a  verbal warning. If the heckling continues that person can be ejected out of the game and off of school property by the school’s administrator. If an official were to be approached that person will be ejected immediately without any form of warning. The adults start the problems by using profanity and making unnecessary remarks in regards to a call the official made.

To add on, there are approximately 527 officials left in the basketball officiating program, if these numbers continue to decrease there will not be any more games and if there is any games it will be a very low number. Every community loves to watch their high school sports teams but if the viewers keep acting up and not being  sportsman, the officials will drop out of the program and there will not be any more games for the communities  to watch. Hall said, “Due to the high number of verbal threats and physical attacks, there is now a bill in the senate that regards any verbal threats of abuse or any physical abuse can be charged as a felony assault.”

If people want high school and junior high games, they better start acting like it because it is getting out of hand and it is all because they can not remain silent and cheer on their team without yelling at the officials and telling them they do not know how to do their job. Little do they know the officials have to go through specific training in order to qualify to officiate any form of sport.  Hall as well as many others are very frustrated with people and do not want to give up on doing what they are passionate about.

The officials are taking time out of their days to help younger people experience sports as students before they do not have the chance to do so anymore. The viewers should be acting like sportsmen and not showing any form of negative emotion toward any team or person that is doing their job. Hall said, “If you think you can be a better official than all you have to do is apply on the website and go through the classes.”

OHSAA officials starting a football game by standing for the National Anthem.