Florida not immune to nation’s referee shortage

Matthew Dennison is retired from the military. So there really isn’t much that bothers him. That includes the heat he takes from fans while officiating high school basketball games.

“It’s a tough job if you don’t have the mentality for it,” Dennison said. “I don’t listen to the fans. I tune them out, but that’s a tough thing for new officials to do.”

Dennison just moved to the area from Virginia and is looking forward to officiating games this winter.

There is a growing need for more people like Dennison, who has been officiating since the early 1990s. The problem is that those people are hard to find.

Florida, like every other state across the nation, is experiencing an official shortage in all sports. The Florida High School Athletic Association had 11,029 officials for all sports during the 2010-11 school year. Less than a decade later, the number has dipped to 7,795.

FHSAA spokesman Kyle Niblett said an effort is being made to put the brakes on the decline and reverse the trend.

Read the full article in the July 19 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.

 

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