TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas is struggling to attract sports officials, and the effect is showing up on the playing field.
It’s a nationwide trend. After seeing numbers dip, the Kansas State High School Activities Association is making a big push, including on social media, to get more referees, umpires, and officials.
Lack of officials is not a new trend in Kansas. There are 30 percent fewer officials than just 10 years ago, then the coronavirus pandemic made the problem worse.
The effects hit winter sports, like basketball and wrestling, hard. Some games were played with fewer officials and workloads increased.
“Officials who tended to work 20 games, worked 30 games,” said Francine Martin, assistant executive and officials liaison for KSHSAA.
Martin is also a volleyball official. She said anyone can apply to become one. She said the job has its perks.
You can pick your own hours, form a comradery with other officials and it’s a way to be a crucial part of a kids’ youth.
“Somebody officiated our games, that’s why we got to play. Now it’s time for us as adults to give back, so the next generation can play,” Martin said.
Salaries for officials can vary depending on the sport, location and level of players. Applications for the next school year open up on June 1.