WVSSAC hopes online course will lead to young officials | Sports

ByMike V. Cooper

Jun 21, 2022

One of the biggest concerns in prep football over the past few years has been concussions, and states like West Virginia have implemented measures and rules to help reduce head injuries.

One of the least talked about issues is the lack of officials.

West Virginia High Schools Activities Commission rules clinician Larry McCloy agreed Monday after state officials’ golf outing at the Glade Springs Resort on Monday.

“Our numbers have gone down over the last 10 years,” McCloy said. “Last year we finished with 523 registered football officials, which is probably down from around 50 to 75 over the last eight to 10 years.”

“It’s a problem in all sports, I’m particularly familiar with football,” said Marty Jones, former head of the New River Valley Officials Association. “We are decent, but we need young people involved. We have a lot of older guys here and our days are numbered on the pitch.

The WVSSAC has not only recognized the lack of officials, but has set out to implement a program this summer that will make it easier for potential new umpires to obtain the required training.

In the past, new officials had to take training courses at a specific location and complete 20 hours of classroom instruction.

“What we did was make 15 of those (20) hours virtual,” McCloy said. “This means that referees can now watch a module of online football officials and train themselves. What this allows them to do is train on their own schedule. So if they want to go home in the evening at 11 p.m. and do part of the training, they can do that.

“In July, it’s hard to get someone to say Woodrow Wilson High School at 7 p.m. on a Monday night because they might be on vacation. That would allow them now even on vacation if they wanted to hop on the computer and do a few hours of training, they would be able to do it.

Wayne Ryan, who is approaching his sixth full year as deputy executive director of WVSSAC and leads the organization’s football program, said the time was right for a change and believes the program will be beneficial in attracting new players. officials.

“Times have changed and if we want to get young people officiating, we have to meet them on their terms,” Ryan said. “Being able to do half of your training online and on your own schedule, I think is very important. You still have to do the five hours with your local council and 10 hours in the field. But the 15 hours you can working on your own schedule as prep work is very important, I hope this will open the door for more young people to try refereeing.

While we haven’t reached tipping point yet – and the goal is to move in the positive direction in terms of numbers – the fallout from the lack of arbitrage would be detrimental to Friday Night Lights. It’s not a landscape high school football wants to see.

“If (the numbers) continue to drop, there are certainly concerns because you may have to consider situations where not all games can be played on Friday nights as far as high school university is concerned,” said Ryan. “You have to watch some on Thursday and some on Saturday. Everyone wants to play on Fridays when possible. So there is some concern about that. We hope with this new situation of how you register and how you train helps, and we get new officials trained and involved in football. If it helps, it will. But if the decline, we will have some adjustments to make statewide.

“Many parts of the country are now playing games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,” McCloy said. “We’re not there yet in West Virginia, but we may not be far away. So I hope this new online training for officials helps.

McCloy said another issue is fan behavior toward managers who turn certain people down.

“Sportsmanship is always an issue,” McCloy said. “You talk to guys, and they say ‘Oh, I would never do that. You get yelled at all the time. But what I want to say to this person is that’s a small part of that. They don’t yell at you personally, they yell at the #1 officer striped jersey is so rewarding You make friends for life We had over 50 people here today who came out and played golf and had fun. It’s rewarding for your community, for the kids, for the coaches. Just the relationships you build. That’s what it’s all about.”