Central New York referee shortage leading to more Saturday, Thursday high school football games

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REFEREEs

(WSYR-TV) — High School football referees in Central New York are having trouble fielding a team for the upcoming season. The number of referees has dramatically dropped since 2015, according to Syracuse Football Officials Secretary Treasurer Nick Lore. 

He has seen his peers go from 212 referees in 2015 to just 91 for this season. 

There’s such a shortage, some Friday night games have had to be moved to either Saturday or Thursday. 

“There were Friday nights where we had 20 games we had to cover and the maximum number of games we can cover is 14,” Lore said. 

Referees from Watertown and the Mohawk Valley, both with shortages of their own, are trying to help in Central New York.

Finding new recruits has proven difficult. Almost a third of officials in CNY are 60 years or older and a class of 20 potential referees didn’t produce as many new additions as anticipated. 

“We had 20 new members and we know it was going to dwindle, but that 20 dwindled down to five. In fact, we lost three new members this week,” Lore said. 

Lore says other high school sports are facing a similar issue with finding officials for games. 

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