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Local High School Refs Deal with Abuse and Low Pay

Duke v Louisville
Andy Lyons, Getty Images

There are fewer and fewer people who want to referee local High School games because it just isn’t worth the hassle anymore.

Being the ref has always been a tough job, but there was a time when the ref had the final word. Sure there is the bad call every once in a while and sometimes that could cost a team the game, but the hostility that refs deal with on the high school level has gone to another level. Hell the ump at the Little League game takes more crap in two hours than most people get in a year.

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that the local High School athletic scene is facing a crisis as fewer men and women want to ref sporting events. The pay is lower than what they can make for “travel teams”, those leagues not associated with schools. Many local games have had to dip into the ref pool from outside the Varsity level.

Officials who oversee sports in Sections 1 (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess counties) and 9 (Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties) are in such short supply for varsity games that league officials are pulling refs from junior varsity, freshman and middle school games

The current crop of Mid Hudson refs are aging out and younger people who might want to do the job are being pulled away by to many other things in life. Plus abusive parents and coaches make being the ref and unattractive part time job.

Not enough officials mean that eventually High School sports with suffer. No refs, no games. I have been to a number of games where the coaches and spectators have taunted the ref for the entire game. What happened to sportsmanship? Coaches have a right to argue a bad call, but ultimately the ref needs to be respected. ┬áTeach players that no matter what the call is, you can’t use it as an excuse for bad behavior – period.


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