High school volleyball on the High Desert is in trouble.
“There is a huge shortage of officials,” said Ridgeview High School Athletic Director Randi Viggiano. “Whether that’s people leaving the profession, whether that is people leaving the area, but I believe we have 10 in all of Central Oregon.”
Only 10 officials for 17 schools in Central Oregon. With two officials needed for each game.
“To be honest, I don’t know how it is going to happen,” said Central Oregon Volleyball Commissioner Kelly Havig. “I put all the schedules in and a week from Tuesday on the first play date for regular matches, it came up that I needed 28 officials to fill the day. I have six.”
Havig has been in discussion with the Oregon School Activities Association about the shortage — even making suggestions that coaches might need to ref junior varsity games.
“Hopefully, we can figure out a plan,” Havig said. “As it stands right now, I don’t have certified officials for are the requirements that OSAA has.”
Volleyball isn’t the only sport with a referee shortage, it’s all upcoming fall sports.
Viggiano says canceling games because of the shortage is a last resort. Rescheduling games, however is not only expected, but already happening.
“You will see some Friday night football games being played on Thursdays and Saturdays,” said Vigganio. “You know, moving soccer games to different dates just to spread out the officials.”
With all of the Bend and Redmond High Schools in the same conference (Mountain Valley) this season, officials have no breaks because even away games will still be in Central Oregon.
“You know they just have to cover more games,” said Viggiano. “Madras and Crook County are in the same conference. So, yeah it definitely puts a bigger strain.”
Viggiano encourages anyone who wants to help or to become an official to reach out to their local athletic directors.