Shortage of sports officials could force schools to reschedule games

MEDFORD, Ore. – As the new school year starts, youth athletics in Southern Oregon are also getting underway.

However, much like last year, the state is still dealing with a shortage of sports officials.

According to the Oregon School Activities Association, between the 2010 and 2019 seasons, there was a 21% loss in sports officials.

In 2020, the pandemic caused a decrease of almost a 1,000 officials from the year before.

Although there was an increase of over 400 registered officials last year, the shortage continues to affect schools.

The Medford School District said parents and students should prepare for the potential of postponements of games, with the lack of referees.

“Without officials, there’s no game,” Medford District School athletic director Fred Kondziela said. “I would expect from time-to-time some adjustments are going to be made in schedules when we come across a situation where there is a shortage of officials for whatever reason.”

According to the district, the shortage has not improved from last year.

They’re asking parents and students to be flexible and patient, as the schedule remains fluid during the year.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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