Staffing shortages are forcing Maine high schools to shuffle sports schedules ahead of the fall season. Officials are shorthanded and need more referees for the upcoming school year.
Windham High School’s football matchup with Noble has already been moved from Friday this week to Thursday next week because of this issue.
Referee Ronald Kramer sent a public letter to the Maine Principals’ Association about multiple issues, including pay. He said that and other problems are leading to these shortages.
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To fix it, he wants to work together with the association in a “true partnership,” figure out the solution across youth, high school and college sports, and establish a program to recruit and retain younger officials.
“The MPA is doing all that it can to get new officials. The value that our role as officials play in athletics is student-athletes get a chance to play,” Commissioner Jeff Benson said in response to Kramer’s letter.
Mark LaFountain, a sports official, said he hopes others will be inspired to join him.
“I didn’t get into it right away, but I eventually did, and the camaraderie piece is why I still do it. It’s not the money, it’s a good group of people,” LaFountain said.
LaFountain also said being a ref still feeds the knack for competition he misses from playing.