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Ohio High School Adds Referee Class To Combat Youth Sports Officiating Shortage

Bob Cook ,  
I write about youth sports.  
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

At Zanesville, Ohio, High School, they teach the three R's: reading, 'riting and refereeing.

There's lots of justified hand-wringing over what to do about a growing shortage of youth sports referee, umpires and officials. How can the profession, which pays you about $50 or so a game in extra pocket money, attract younger people and have them stick around?

Zanesville High is trying this: offering officiating as a class beginning in the upcoming 2017-18 school year. Here is the instructor, licensed Ohio High School Athletic Association official Steve Shroyer, describing the genesis of the idea to the Times-Recorder of Zanesville:

"Zanesville was looking for more electives, and principal Laura Tompkins asked if I was interested," said Shroyer, the school's athletic trainer. "This will help support the officials association and hopefully, recruit some new ones. ..."

The class is available to 26 students per semester. The first semester will be nine weeks of football and nine weeks of basketball, and the second will be nine weeks of basketball and nine weeks of either baseball, softball or soccer depending on interest.

The minimum age for a license in Ohio is 14, and everyone must take at least 25 hours of instruction, whether classroom or field work.

Students can take the exam and, if they pass, must pay OHSAA a $65 fee for the license and supplemental insurance. All students will be a Class 3 official and able to officiate freshman and lower levels.

I have not seen a syllabus, but I would suspect there is going to be some training on dealing with screaming parents and coaches. In fact, I would recommend bringing adults in to yell at the kids while they're taking exams, you know, to replicate their work environment.

Coach Daniels Named Recipient of First Ever Walter "Buddy" Coleman Lifetime Achievement Award 

CONWAY, Arkansas August 19, 2017  AAHSO names Conway School District Athletic Director Steve Daniels as the recipient of the inaugural Walter “Buddy” Coleman Lifetime Achievement Award.  The presentation was made by AAHSO Vice President Dax Hill at the annual Conway High School “Steak Out”.  Daniel’s was selected for his lifetime of contribution to Arkansas High School Football.  

    “Coach Daniels has been a huge part of our training camp we put together each year for high school football officials,” said AAHSO Executive Vice President Todd Allen.  “We couldn’t do the things we do for the one hundred plus football officials we train each year without the resources Coach Daniels has made available to us through the Conway School District.  He really loves football and cares a great deal about the kids and how what
hedoeseverydayeffects their lives.” 

    The annual award is named after longtime Arkansas High School  Official Walter “Buddy” Coleman who was president of Coleman Dairy for several years and was a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.  Coleman spent 26 years as a referee in the Southwest Conference, including officiating more than 250 football games. Coleman officiated two Cotton Bowls, two Orange Bowls, five Sugar Bowls, three Fiesta Bowls, two Gator Bowls and the Mirage Bowl in Tokyo. 

    Before working a Saturday game in the Southwest 



Improve High School Football in Arkansas.

   The Arkansas Association of High School Officials (AAHSO) is a group of football officials dedicated to providing resources to improve high school football in Arkansas.  

   Founded by AAHSO President Walt Coleman, the association has grown to more than 65 schools and over 400 officials.

   Our schools provide opportunities for our officials to apply the skills and training they have exposed to in an effort to improve all aspects of the game.

   In addition, the association provides resources and training material for our member schools and the coaching staffs of each of these schools.

High school football officials can join the association and receive all the benefits of membership free of charge.  Schools pay a small fee to be members of the association.  This fee is used to offset the cost of assigning game officials for their contests.

"Helping Good Officials Get Better!"

Conference, Coleman would be out on the field Friday night in Arkansas working and helping Arkansas high school football officials.

    Coleman, father of NFL Referee Walt Coleman who also serves as president of the AAHSO.  The award will be handed out each year by the AAHSO for an individual’s lifetime of support and development of high school football in Arkansas. 

Officials gather around AAHSO staff for some discussion between plays during the Advanced High School Officiating Clinic (Staff Photo By Chuck Scott)

AAHSO Vice President Dax Hill presents the inaugural Walter “Buddy" Coleman Lifetime Achievement Award to Conway School District Athletic Director Steve Daniels Saturday night in Conway

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