Lake area referee numbers are down

By Charlie Bartlett - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Players makes plays on the field and someone else makes the calls.  Fans are not usually concerned with referees, but the declining number of officials could result in a major delay of game.

"We know were getting ready to lose some of our older officials. We need some young guys in to replace them," said Ralph Wright.

"Age catches up with all of us at some point so we need to get those younger officials in and retain them.  Retaining is the hardest part of our association," said Thomas Jones.

The lake area has around ninety referees this season, but they need one hundred and twenty each year.

"We had about eighteen new young officials came in but we never have enough officials. We want people to start thinking about officiating football," said Wright.

Lake area referees officiate around fourteen games every weekend.  The lack of officials has caused some games to move from the Friday night lights, to Thursday night lights.  Many referees are working on back to back nights.

"The schools help us out a lot given us some Thursday night games so were able to work with that with the schools," said Wright.

Each football game requires five officials on the field.  That could change if the league doesn't see an increase in new recruits.

"If we get our numbers up, we can take a little bit longer with our younger officials and get them more snaps they need to get them on the field better time," said Wright.

Veteran officials have more experience, but someday they have to retire.  That's when younger, more inexperienced referees need to step in.

"The more you see, the more you are familiar and expecting what's going to happen," said Jones.

"They learn a little better and it doesn't force us to put are young guys on the field before they are ready," said Wright.

The fewer the officials, the fewer flags on the field.  A problem lake area football fans need to be aware of.

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