Lack of sportsmanship from adults to blame for referee shortage

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The Michigan High School Athletic Association needs you.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association needs you.

The MHSAA is in crisis mode as it looks to recruit new game officials.

The average age of an MHSAA official is 48-years-old. That’s for all sports, from fall to spring sports.

The age for high school football officials is said to be much higher.

With pending retirements coming soon, the MHSAA is in crisis mode.

With the help of legendary Genesee County official Phil Long, they are looking to recruit whistle blowers.

“Twenty years ago, the average age of a person just registering for the first time was 22. The average age today of a person registering for the first time is 42,” Long said.

To help recruit more officials, Long will be holding classes starting on Monday, Feb. 3 and running through March at Swartz Creek High School.

The classes will run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will thoroughly go through the rules and mechanics and philosophy of officiating.

“You need to build confidence. You build confidence by understanding the rules. That’s huge. Mechanics rules philosophy. But that rule knowledge makes you feel really confident when you know what happens,” Long said.

Depending on the level of the game – JV or varsity – officials will make roughly $50 to $75 a contest, which can be a nice part-time gig – especially for college students.

The MHSAA is not just looking for men.

“This is not just for guys. We have women officiating football on every level in this country. And we can use more women,” Long said.

For more information on Long’s class, click here.

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