KHSAA officials worried about lack of umpires, referees
HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - A problem has been surfacing for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association where there are a lack of umpires and referees to go around for games.
Whether it is the COVID-19 pandemic making some older officiates hesitant, a compressed season, or fewer volunteers, it is a situation KHSAA officials find frustrating.
“In a season where everybody’s trying to play as much as they can on every good weather day...it gets tough,” 14th Region Baseball and Softball Assigning Secretary Lucas Miller said.
Mark Pence is an umpire with the Mountain Umpire Association, he says it is a problem that has become nationwide.
“For the past several years we’ve had a shortage for officiating in basketball, baseball, softball, football, soccer, just about every sport,” Pence said.
Pence says it has left current officiates having to pick up the slack.
“For myself, and most of the officials I know, we’re working every day Monday through Saturday and we’re often having to turn down middle school games because we’re tied up with the high school,” Pence said.
Leaving Hazard Middle School Baseball Coach Michael Davidson and his players disappointed.
“You know you get hyped up ready to play a game and then it’s sort of like last year, we didn’t even get a game in. This year I think we’ve got nine in so far at this season,” Davidson said.
KHSAA officials are encouraging people to volunteer.
“We’d be more than happy to have them join our association and give these kids every opportunity that we can give them to play,” Miller said.
Miller says anyone interested in volunteering and becoming an officiate can go to KHSAA’s website.
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