NewsLocal News


More teens stepping into to referee sports amid nationwide ref shortage

trans sports
Posted at 10:21 PM, Dec 20, 2022

CLEVELAND — At the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Ohio, sports have always been a major pillar and even amid a nationwide referee shortage the game continues.

“When you’ve got a nonprofit with limited resources, having teenagers who really want to be there is really important and really cool,” said Ken Wood with the Boys and Girls Club of NEO.

To combat the ref shortage those teens are trained to serve as referees at the club. The National Federation of State High School Association said there’s been a loss of 50,000 referees and umpires since 2018.

“There’s become an increasing amount of antagonism from coaches, from fans and sometimes even players, and I think the sportsmanship aspect has a lot to do with the shortage,” said Wood.

Dan Rodriguez has also noticed the shortage, he’s teaching an officiating class at Jackson Township High School to attract more students to ref.

“I’m just trying to capture an audience during the school day and be able to educate them during the actual school hours which makes it a pretty popular class to be able to help that officiating shortage problem,” said Rodriguez

“It seems to be a big gap in between ages, and I feel like it’s our responsibility to put yourself out there and help give back when we play youth spaces, help give back to the kids currently playing youth sports,” said student Kyle Carey.

Students learn about everything in the class from rules of the games to how to deal with angry coaches and players.

“I definitely think it would be something that I would do in college as another side gig to make money,” said Brodey Gande.

As students learn the game and ref as teens, Rodriguez says many of his students are officiating as down the line as adults

“They are able to get certified to be able to use this,” said Rodriguez. “Some of my students, right now that have graduated, are at various states. I have one in Pennsylvania right now that did a high school football game while he's in college.”

Watch live and local news any time:

Good Morning Cleveland at 6

Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.