Montana is in dire need of referees
To put it bluntly, we need officials in Montana.
It really doesn’t matter where you are in Montana, there is a need for officials in nearly every sport.
MOA (Montana Officials Association) registration opens on May 1, 2023. All Montana Officials Association information, registration and online courses can be found on MHSA.org.
There are 11 different regions in the state of Montana, and there are several officiating ‘pools’ in each of those regions. The pools are responsible for all the games in the area. For example, the Butte pool is not only responsible for the games in Butte, they also cover from Deer Lodge to Ennis, and up to Boulder as well.
Varsity, Junior Varsity, Sophomore, and Freshman ball, boys and girls. That is a lot of games to cover. Sometimes the pools are able to make it work, but sometimes they have to call for outside help. Crews from other pools are regularly called in to help pack the game load.
Because of the shortage, officials will regularly officiate several games in a day to try and make sure that the games are played. It’s not unheard of at all to see officials taking vacation time from their ‘day job’ to officiate contests.
One of the main reasons for the officiating shortage is the officiating pools are getting older and as veterans retire, not enough young officials are there to take their place.
I reached out to several coaches and Athletic Directors and asked them if the shortage is an issue now, and all responded simply “yes”. Games have been moved to try and relieve some of the pressure on the officiating pool, but there haven’t been any games lost because of a lack of officials, yet. If we don’t get an influx of new officials - for all sports- games could start getting canceled.
There is a need for officials in all sports, baseball, softball, wrestling, basketball, football, soccer, and volleyball. If you are willing to give up some of your well-earned time to make sure that all kids can play the sports they love, think about signing up to be a Montana Official.
You can read more about becoming an MOA HERE.
I would also encourage you to go talk to your friends who are officials, they will be the best way in.