Des Moines, Iowa – High school sports in Iowa are hoping to combat an alarming shortage of officials. According to figures from the Iowa High School Athletic Association the number of licensed officials in seven sports has dropped 16 percent in the last 10 years.
The biggest concern is in the sports of wrestling and baseball. The number of licensed officials in wrestling has dropped 24 percent in 10 years. In baseball, the drop is more than 25 percent. Lewie Curtis, Director of Officials for the Iowa High School Athletic Association, says more.
There is also more competition from an increasing number of youth baseball tournaments across the state.
Curtis says major metro areas like Des Moines and Cedar Rapids have larger pools of officials but the shortage is being felt in all parts of Iowa.
Curtis says the biggest issue is the retention of young officials.
Curtis says the association hopes to improve the training of new officials in hopes of boosting the retention rate.
Curtis hopes to apply the mentoring and training program to other sports.
The IHSAA licensed 6,363 officials in seven sports during the 2007-2008 school year. That number dropped to 5,334 this past year.