Ripon College Students Share Shortage of Sports Officials is Reaching Critical Status

Ripon (OnFocus) – Students at Ripon College are doing their part to fill the shortage of sports officials, but they are facing a daunting challenge.

As reported by Madelyn Kuhn with, more students at the college are  officiating, but they are frustrated with the shortage of officials.

“When I was umpiring every weekend, it was hard to fill the schedule. I was the only one who was umpiring these games who was under the age of 20 at this time. A shortage of referee’s definitely exists for many sports,” said Jacob Zuehlke, Ripon College junior and baseball and softball umpire at the high school level.

Current sports officials have noticed a serious issue in a shortage of refs in youth sports. After two years of officiating, 80% of new referees quit the job, according to the National Associations of Sports Officials. They go on to explain how young people, including college students, are not as interested in pursuing a job in the officiating business as they were in previous years. With the lack of young officials being introduced and trained, it is becoming difficult for high schools to find enough officials for each game in every sport.

Zuehlke believes the positives of officiating greatly outweigh the negatives.

“The best experiences I had umpiring baseball and softball were the moments when little kids would play their hardest. Some teams built a culture where the umpire is always at fault for what happens in the game. However, some teams were built off of hard work and love for the game,” he said. “When a kid would come up to the plate and smack the bat on home plate, then hit a ball to the outfield was awesome. Then, at the end of that game, the same kid would come and give the umpires a high five and thank them for officiating the game.”

Read Kuhn’s complete article HERE

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]