Referee shortage nears crisis in Iowa

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CyHans, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. farewayfool

    farewayfool Active Member

    Oct 7, 2009
    Muscatine, IA
    I don't know where that was at, but with over 30 years experience, small Iowa towns still pay $20/hour/game for their youth leagues and tourneys. 5 hours of up and down the court working bad youth BB, with coaches and parents beotching for $100 just isn't any fun. I only do it because I am friends with the league organizers. High School JV is the easiest money. $80-$100 per night (2 games- 3 hours max) with very little drama and decent play.
  2. Tailg8er

    Tailg8er Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    There is actually a link on that site he posted about associations of officials in Iowa. Not sure if that's what you're looking for?
  3. CarlHungus

    CarlHungus Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Get Charlie to ref
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  4. khardbored

    khardbored Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    Middle of the Midwest
    Go to the web site, click on officials, then official's associations. Hook up with a local association.

    Having said that, here is my input (as a football official - it's the only sport I officiate). If you have been an official in other sports, football is going to feel really weird and disorganized when it comes to getting games because there is no central body that does the scheduling. You probably won't be on a crew your first year, you will probably do mostly youth league and Jr. High games, with a few JV games. The local association can help with that, but don't think of it as "join a crew then officiate." Admittedly, a first year guy might get on a varsity crew right away, (esp as the shortage continues) but generally not.

    For football, it's been fairly static for 10 years or so.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. CYphyllis

    CYphyllis Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2010
    Well, it wasn't small town Iowa or basketball. I mostly did soccer in the Quad Cities, Muscatine complex and then some work in the Chicago suburbs.

    For instance, in Davenport you could work a 40 minute Dads Club game for $25 a game if you had the basic FIFA certifications. Not sure if it's still that way, but when I was reffing it was.
  6. Cyclonetrombone

    Cyclonetrombone Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    American Red Cross
    Madison, Wisconsin
    A VERY significant thing contributing to this is the politics around getting to move up the ranks and officiate state tournaments in Iowa. Coaches have far too much influence on the ratings and the old dudes have far too much pull. The ref issue mirrors the issue currently in the long established organizations likes the moose lodges, odd fellows, legions and masons. Old guys influenced thingso in an almost tyrannical fashion and prevented younger people from maintaining interest because things were stagnant. Over 20 years this resulted in a generation who could not give less of a crappie about them and now the old dudes are all panicked because they aren't getting new membership.
    As a former baseball official who stopped because of an out of state move but continued everywhere I moved, I can say Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri all have this issue. This is partly due to population and class number as a result of population. Texas has politics but the sheer size of the population has resulted in so many divisions and class levels that thereally is more access to officiating regional and state events. Illinois, while VERY political has the luxury of a ton of class levels and the old dudes just want 6a or whatever it is called now so officiating a state tournament for 1a isn't hard to get access to.
    Long and short... like what's happening in the volunteer culture nationally, younger people (under 40) have goals and expected results before they start doing something. When a genelation of old dudes basically spent two decades giving the finger to late boomers and gen x, they create a whole and have missed the chance for gradual evolution and no longer appeal to gen x and millenia.

    Oh and parents are the worst people on the planet. Last season I officiated a girls softball game and the new guy at the plate straight up quit after. I can get trophy crappie from football, basketball (g and b) and baseball but there is literally no place to go professionally or monetarily (scholarship) for softball so sit down, enjoy the game and quit being a drag.

    Note. If you want to make some cash and not get screamed at, become a track and field official. It's actually a lot of fun. Avoid wrestling in Iowa, elsewhere is okay but in Iowa remember all the tavern hawks and rednecks that exist, then add in the fact that you're officiating their kids and you've got a job that sucks hard.
    I'm not politically savvy so I can only go by initial looks at basketball and football as well as comments from fellow officials.
    • Informative Informative x 3
  7. AllInForISU

    AllInForISU Active Member

    Nov 24, 2012
    Thanks for the info. Very informative.
  8. I-stateTheTruth

    I-stateTheTruth Active Member

    Nov 13, 2016
    But there are so many good officials available on CF ...
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  9. DurangoCy

    DurangoCy Well-Known Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Durango, CO
    I used to ref 3rd-4th & 5th-6th grade games at a local parks and recs league on saturdays. I usually really looked forward to it, but I'd definitely say that 5% of the parents/kids/coaches think they're playing for the NBA championship every Saturday.

    Best day: A pretty good team had a little dude that had MS or similar. I'm not even sure he was on their team, because I don't remember him being there all year, so they might've just brought him to the last game. Anyway, they start feeding him the rock with 5 minutes left in the second half. He get's a few shots up, but he's getting dog tired and can barely get up and down the court. He get's fouled shooting and we put him on the line, but neither of the shots are even close, he's just way too small and they don't even get half way there.

    Fastforward a few minutes, and he get's fouled shooting again with about 10 seconds on a running clock, so time runs out. He thinks it's over, but we grab him and stick him on the line, but I'm like, "screw this, this kid is scoring" and I move him 4-5' in front of the line. Shot 1 rims out, but he nails the second one. :) I haven't seen 10 kids more excited or heard 300 parents cheer that loud, ever.
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  10. clonedude

    clonedude Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2006
    I've never reffed, but I coached my son's basketball teams in grades 5 and 6 mostly because they just could not get enough people to coach.

    I loved working with the kids and teaching them the fundamentals of the game, and I mostly tried to get every kid about the same amount of playing time so they could learn the game.

    But after nearly every game I had a couple of kids' dads come up to me after the game and try to give me tips on what plays to run, what out of bounds plays to run, etc, etc.... and also which kids to play the most so they could win.

    I usually just told them that we need coaches every year because there is a shortage, so if you want to be a coach, just sign up. Then they usually just walked away or said they didn't have time.
  11. zmanzbo

    zmanzbo Active Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Such a stupid story/topic on so many levels.

    To call something like this a crisis is just assiniane and inappropriate. Really, a freaking crisis?? What a joke. Yet another **** story by the who guy.

    Much bigger real crisis out there then a shortage of refs. My god give this guy a Pulitzer. Great freaking work. Investigate journalism at its worst!!

    Waste of time people.......
    • Disagree Disagree x 3
  12. clonedude

    clonedude Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2006
    Relax. Obviously it's not a "crisis" in that nobody is going to die or anything. But it would be a sad day in this country if you no longer could hold athletic events because the hatred in people has grown to such a high level that you can no longer find anyone willing to referee games at the K-12 level.

    What would that say about our society? I think it would send the message for us all to "grow up" and act like adults for once.

    So no, it's not a crisis in how you are defining crisis, but as far as finding people willing to referee, it is becoming a crisis.
  13. cycloner29

    cycloner29 Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I have been a volunteer 1st base umpire, a football coach, a baseball, coach and a basketball coach. Notice the fifth word "volunteer"!! Most other folks just want to sit back and *****. When I umpired, I made my calls loud. This is what tells people that you are a confident umpire. Any umpire, or ref that you could hear the call from the dugout our underneath the other basket, you knew they had the game under control. Sure I have seen parents being told to leave the court, leave the complex, but the ump/refs just seemed to lack confidence in the calls they made.

    A lot of parents only show up for games, drop their kids off late for practice, or their kids don't show up for practice. Parents get upset because their kids doesn't start. WTF!!! Your kid puts in the practice, he will get to play. I did not play favorites. When I was a first base umpire, I didn't focus on the colors of the teams jersey. I focused on the base and the ball coming into the glove. Sure there were times you had coaches from the dugout call you out. I even saw volunteer umps leave after they got chewed on by parents. You have to be thick skinned to ref or umpire. I always told parents at the start of the season on each sport I coached, that remember I volunteered to coach because no else wanted to. We never had a problem from that standpoint on any team I helped coach.
  14. ruxCYtable

    ruxCYtable Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    I will just share my own experience.

    I started officiating in 1999. First couple years I worked a lot of low-level games -- middle school and youth tournaments -- and took some lumps, as is to be expected. Was fortunate to have some veteran officials take me under their wings and I advanced fairly quickly. Was working about 50% varsity by my third year and a 100% varsity schedule in my fourth, but still a lot of 1A-2A games. Fifth year I was working mostly Mississippi Valley (CR, IC, W'loo, Dub.), MAC (Quad Cities) and we came over and worked a handful of CIML games each year.

    I've officiated many games with some pretty fantastic players, including Doug McDermott, Harrison Barnes, all the Bohannon brothers, Marcus Paige, David Johnson (NFL) and of course the great McCaffrey brothers :) and many others I'm sure I'm forgetting.

    Overall, I would say the positive experiences have outweighed the negative by at least 100:1. I have, however, seen some very negative things over the years as well. I've had a partner get assaulted in a parking lot after a tournament game (which was mind boggling as he was 6-7 and the other two of us were 5-9). I've had friends who've been assaulted after games, including one who had a parent burst into a lockerroom and punch him in the face.

    Certainly, I make mistakes every, single night. I've been very fortunate, however, in 18 years to have avoided the "big one". That big, controversial call that sets a gym off or impacts the outcome of a game. I'd like to think that is more than luck, as my philosophy has always been to "call the obvious" and otherwise stay out of the way. My goal, and that of my crew, is to not be noticed. If we can go home after a game and say to ourselves honestly that no one is going to talk about the officiating when they talk about that game, it's been a good night.

    I stopped officiating lower-level games several years ago. The parents and coaches (who are mostly parents without any kind of certification) made it not enjoyable. Part of it was my own ego. I found it difficult to go and work a big 4A boys varsity game on Friday night, only to have "Johnny's Mom" get in my face and tell me "you don't know what the **** you're doing" at a youth game the next morning. I simply decided I wasn't going to subject myself to it anymore.

    It is sad to me that the worst behavior seems to happen at the lowest levels. We get a lot of new guys who look like they're going to be good, then quit after one year because of what they experience in youth basketball. It's too bad because I think it gets better as you advance. The fans and coaches are more knowledgeable and the sportsmanship is better in scholastic basketball as there is some accountability.

    At age 45, I'm in a position now of having to semi-retire because of knee problems. I had hoped to work 20 more years and maybe I still will if I can get some injury things figured out and fixed. Saddens me because I know more people are needed and by partially stepping away I'm becoming part of the problem of declining numbers.

    I'm not saying this as a challenge or meaning to be condescending in any way. Those of you who love the game and think the officiating stinks -- in a lot of cases you're probably right -- give it a try. Despite what you think now, you MAY fall in love with it. I did.
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  15. khardbored

    khardbored Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2012
    Middle of the Midwest
    OK, so yeah, it's not a "crisis" in the sense of no one will die, but 'cmon. It's totally an appropriate story for local news. It's wasn't the NBC national nightly news.

    A year or two ago, a smaller school in Eastern Iowa had to forfeit a Jr. High football game because they couldn't get officials. And not for lack of trying. So, call it whatever you want, it is a real thing.
  16. Nihawk

    Nihawk Member

    Nov 3, 2009
    I umpire 9th grade, JV and varsity softball. JH and JV basketball and football. I have not reffed a varsity basketball game since they went to 3 man crews. It has been mostly positive experience. I was listening to Murph and Andy last Friday and they were saying the two jobs that currently came with the most criticism were law enforcement and officiating. I do both. I am 55 and last fall I went to a basketball clinic. I was hoping to better myself. The person putting on the clinic was a long time official. He pretty much talked about himself the whole time. Pretty much turned everyone off. Not a good way to get more people involved.
  17. BikeSkiClone

    BikeSkiClone Active Member

    Jul 25, 2014
    My Dad refereed HS football and umped baseball (LL through HS) up until about 7 or 8 years ago (retired due to age and couldn't physically hang anymore). Grew up on football fields on Friday nights and chasing down foul balls at baseball games four or five nights a week all summer, but I lost all interest in ever wanting to be a ref or ump after watching the BS they go through. It's also why I rarely comment on officiating, at all. Unless it's egregious and clearly a wrong call (and I typically default to Dad's opinion).

    I'm that person who, when everyone in the arena/stadium is booing a call and the replay shows it as iffy or pretty clearly the right call but everyone keeps booing, shrugs and says " some, lose some" or "yea...good call..." (usually to myself so I don't get my *** beat by the angry people around me)

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