Mason City face referee shortage and possible solution

Mason City Faces Referee Shortage

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(ABC 6 News) – Over the past several years, there has been a decline in the number of referees or officials available for games and tournaments, but students and staff in Mason City may have found a solution.

Logan Eide is a senior at Mason City High School and was recently certified to become an official. “It’s kind of like a bad stigma around it. They make bad calls. They’re going to get yelled at.”

Being a referee isn’t an easy job, many of them deal with increasing outcries from fans, no matter what call they make or what grade level they ref.

James Miles Jr. has seen outcries before most kids even understand the fundamentals of sports. “I’ll be reffing a third grade game and they’re still learning. But, because I make a call or don’t make a call, you have fans yelling at you. I’m thinking to myself ‘these are third graders.’”

With more people leaving the profession, students are now getting more involved. Five students at Mason City High School have signed up to become officials in basketball. Two of them were the aforementioned Eide and Miles Jr.

Two more of them were Brayden Miller, a senior, and Jack Boedeker, a freshman. They both commented on why they wanted to become officials.

Miller had this to say. “A few of my friends, we thought it would be kind of interesting. We like sports in general, and we thought we might as well take the opportunity that is given to us.”

Meanwhile, Boedeker had these thoughts. “I’ve kind of been wanting to get into it, and I have wanted to be around the game more coming into high school. I have family in it, a couple of them are my cousins.”

The other one is Drew Degabriele, who was unable to be interviewed at the time the story was put together. Most of them agree reffing is harder than they expected due to the pace of play. They also agree on their importance, otherwise resulting in postponing or even cancelling games.

Part of the idea of them getting certified came from volunteer coach Tony Buhr. “That way, you can look at different angles of the game, different perspectives, and understand the game a little bit differently.”

The hope is that at least five students will become certified every year, solving the problem in the long run. Head coach of the boys’ basketball team Nick Trask agrees.

“Every year we’re kicking out five guys, and we are putting one or two guys into the system that weren’t there before. I think that’s amazing.”

He adds “We would have no more crisis after a few years here.”

In order to get rid of the shortage in a few years though, other schools across the country would also need to implement similar programs.

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a referee or an official, you can do that HERE.