ROSEVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — The high school football season kicked off around the region Friday.
But getting Friday’s games started was not easy with some schools having to change their schedules due to a referee shortage. While things went well this time, the shortage could impact future games this season.
“It’s rather difficult because we don’t have enough officials,” said Monty Muller, Sac-Joaquin Section Assigner of Officials.
The shortage of officials means some games will have to be canceled or postponed.
“It’s just ridiculous,” said Larry Oakes, who has officiated for 48 years.
For the past six years, Jesse Davis has been part of one of the eight officiating teams who travel from the Chico area to help make sure every game for the Sac-Joaquin Section is played.
“If it was not for these guys, then we do not play,” Davis said.
For 30 years, Muller has been in charge of scheduling referees for high school games in the Sacramento region.
“Week two, we have 10 schools that will have to change when they are playing the game — can’t do Friday or Sunday,” Muller said.
That is one way the Section officials are hoping to ensure every game is played. Muller said the reason for the shortage includes the pandemic impacting the supply chain, not enough money for the referees and the treatment referees face from parents.
Recently, social media videos have been shining a light on the treatment referees get from parents in youth sports.
“I think the guys are nervous and scared because they are not 100% confident they are going to be protected,” Davis said.
California Interscholastic Federation, the governing body of high school sports in the state, will ban fans and parents for life if they assault anyone on the field before, during and after the game.
Davis said he hopes people fans and parents understand football is a game and they are not intentionally trying to make mistakes.
“The biggest thing everyone needs to remember is it’s for the kids,” Davis said. “It is not for the parents, not for the fans, it is for the kids. Have some sportsmanship, have some class.”
If you want to sign up to be a referee, click here.