Far too many officials are walking away from their avocation. A shortage of officials is being suffered at ever level of sport all over the country.
Recently, I led a survey of 17,487 officials of all sports across the country for the National Association of Sports Officials. In that survey, the vast majority of all officials said they started officiating for the love of the game. No, their first reason for joining wasn't for money. In fact, money wasn't even in the top 10 reasons for beginning to officiate. It was all about the love of sports and the desire to work with athletes. But, if officials started for the love of the game, what causes them quit? Or, why don't more people join? Clearly, there are many people who enjoy being involved in sports.
A large part of that answer is due to poor sportsmanship. Nearly sixty percent of those officials surveyed felt that sportsmanship was getting worse. And another survey done by the National Federation of State High School Associations found that the most prevalent reason that officials had quit was due to poor sportsmanship.
But, officials aren't the only people quitting. ESPN Magazine cited that nearly forty percent of all youth athletes that were surveyed after quitting did so because they weren't having fun anymore. Certainly poor sportsmanship diminishes the fun o playing sports.
Poor sportsmanship is a problem that must be improved upon quickly. We need to keep both athletes and officials involved in sports, and in order to do, the behavior around the field must improve.