YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – High school football official recruitment is in full force in Ohio. The Northwest District Football Officials Association is hosting a statewide virtual certification class starting July 13, where you can learn the ins and outs of being a ref and be officiating JV games by August.
“I think it is vital, I think in the next three to five years, we are really going to be hurting,” said Mark Kuhn, an OHSAA New Officials Class Instructor. “Do mechanics, where to stand, what to look for, your keys. Between high school, college and the NFL there are over 200 rule differences. People do not understand that. They see a game on Saturday and they say well the high school guy screwed that up last night, no because it isn’t the same rule.”
Referee numbers are down throughout Ohio, with the number leaving far outweighing the new members.
“Guys just hanging it up, for whatever reason,” Kuhn said . “Getting older, younger guys starting families.”
And perhaps another, familiar reason. Unruly fans.
“It is getting worse,” Kuhn said. “I wish parents would understand all what is involved. These guys put in a lot of work. Our class is 25 hours of work. Required to study, required to take tests.”
Kuhn says that if more people don’t work to become officials that you could see more and more Thursday and Saturday games due to a lack of refs and that the positives of being an official far outweigh the negatives.
“You get to be around the game. And it is fun. If you are around the right group of guys working a football game, I love my Friday night crew,” Kuhn said. “We have a great time in addition to doing football. We all played football, just being around the game, there is nothing like a Friday night football game. The atmosphere is awesome.”
The class is $125 and is every Tuesday and Thursday for five weeks.
To learn more and sign-up, click here.