Central Oregon Daily▶️ La Pine offsets referee shortage with officials mentorship program

▶️ La Pine offsets referee shortage with officials mentorship program

▶️ La Pine offsets referee shortage with officials mentorship program

▶️ La Pine offsets referee shortage with officials mentorship program

We’ve seen it in football, volleyball and basketball — referee shortages. But one sport in the High Desert is bucking the trend when it comes to the shortage of referees.

It’s wrestling — and part of the reason is a unique mentorship program.

“It was just kind of a Central Oregon program, and now it’s spreading across the state, which is pretty cool,” said La Pine wrestling coach and Athletic Director Aaron Flack.

RELATED: Local basketball referee shortage causes month-long schedule changes

RELATED: Severe volleyball referee shortage a big issue 

Almost a decade ago, a La Pine wrestling parent came up with an idea to get very young athletes involved in refereeing.

“It started out with just kids that were being mentored by officials and they would go and ref mat club tournaments with an actual official with them. Some kids were like 6, 7, 8 years old,” Aaron Flack said.

Those kids are now in high school and are officially sanctioned referees — a mentorship that has helped them with things like their own skills.

RELATED: OSAA releases op-ed about poor treatment of referees amid Oregon shortage

“I take it as a learning experience,” said Devon Keer, whose father was the one to come up with the program.

“You need to know your own judgment and you need to know the rules to determine what is right or wrong,” said La Pine junior Riley Allison, “So, knowing all the rules makes you a better wrestler.”

They are also learning some perspective on what refs must go through and how to handle it.

“Definitely handling the coaches and all the parents yelling at you when you make a bad call or even when you don’t make a bad call, you have somebody yelling at you,” said sophomore Riley Flack.

When the mentorship first began, no one knew how bad this nationwide referee shortage would be for most sports. But thanks to the program, the High Desert does not need wrestling refs. It’s doing just fine.

“With all the shortages and everything going on with officials, wrestling is one of those things because of this Orange shirt program,” said Aaron Flack, “We have these high school kids getting certified at an early age and getting paid to do it.”

The program that started in La Pine made its way through most of Central Oregon. Culver and Crook County wrestling have both been heavily involved in the mentorship referee program.

CentralOregonDaily.com
CentralOregonDaily.comhttps://centraloregondaily.com/
Central Oregon Daily is Television in Central Oregon … on-air, on-line & on-the-go. We are KOHD – Central Oregon’s ABC, KBNZ – CBS for Central Oregon, and local programming on Central Oregon Daily, COTV and CO4 Visitors Network. We are storytellers of all that matters to Central Oregonians.

Subscribe Today

GET EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO CONTENT

SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM

NEWS FROM 30+ MEDIA SOURCES

250,000+ LOYAL READERS EACH YEAR

Get unlimited access to our news content and our archive of Central Oregon stories.

Top Stories

More Articles