LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — High school fall sports have returned but finding someone to make sure the rules of the game are being followed is becoming the major challenge.
Vince Kristosik, president of the Southern Nevada Officials Association, said the state is facing a drastic shortage of sports officials. The state has less than 50% of needed officiants registered. In 2019, there were more than 700 referees statewide, Kristosik said we are far from reaching that goal.
“We are doing everything in our power between now and the start of sports next week to make sure no sports are canceled,” said Kristosik.
Last year, high school sports came to a halt because of the pandemic. Kristosik said officials had no choice but to find another way to make money. They obtained other opportunities with great benefits and pay, making it difficult for them to return. For many, it has been about staying healthy and avoid getting infected.
“We have some officials that still to this date do not feel safe,” Kristosik said. “They are more concerned about their health than going back out on the field or inside the gym and being around players and spectators.”
In Southern Nevada as of Monday, in high school football, there are 159 officials registered. In 2019 around the same time there were 292. Volleyball and soccer also report a low number of referees.
“We want to give these kids and students every opportunity to play a full season this year, especially cause last year a lot of them didn’t have that opportunity,” Kristosik said.
Kristosik said changes are already evident in volleyball games. They have already had games with only two officials and have asked coaches and staff to monitor volleyball lines.
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