Official shortage calls for extra help

In most sports, there are those who are a part of a game that are frantically running down the lines on a field or hovering by bases. They usually dress professionally in slacks and a buttoned up shirt which allows them to stand out from everyone else involved in the game play.

Officials are there to enforce the rules of a game and use their expertise to keep things from getting out of hand. However, most are retiring and there is a struggle of finding new officials.

“People don’t want to do it because of all the bad stuff they hear,” Athletic Director Zack Hood said.  

Referees receive abuse from the crowd and players, be it physical or verbal.

However, one of the positives is pay. There is a $110 average pay for reffing a soccer game, according to Hood, which means a person can make about $2,000 in a season. Most of the time an official can be home around 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“It’s the perfect college job,” Hood said. “You can still study and be a college student.”

Last year, officials would call the school to pick up work and they haven’t done that, according to former baseball coach Tim Hightower.

“It seems like this year it’s been a difficult time for getting officials,” he said.

Doug McQuinn is the coordinator at Duncan Umpire Association. The association had 800 members, who mostly covered Southwest Okla., and within five years dropped to around 420. Most of the officials have a day job and use the officiating games as a side job.
“Nine or 10 years ago we had City of Duncan employees and sheriff deputies [officiating],” McQuinn said. “We’d officiate one or two times a week. Now we’re doing it every day.”

He agrees with Hood. To solve the problem, there needs to be more of a younger group officiating games. Senior Kaylin Williams is one of these young officials. She already knew the rules of baseball and the difference between a ball and strike.

“It was really easy way to get money,” Williams said. “I just have to show up.”

She officiates middle school boys who poke fun at her.
“Which is understandable because I’m calling baseball,” Williams said.

She plans to continue on during the summer at Abe Raizen.