JOPLIN, MO. — Many of us are used to regular season high school football games being played on Friday nights. But this year we’ll also be getting some games on Saturday, instead. The reason — not enough referees.
Lamar will actually be playing their season opener against Springfield Catholic on a Saturday, Aug. 28 as a result of the shortage. But, they’re not too bummed about it. In fact, they say they’re looking forward to it.
“I think it’s gonna be exciting. It’s gonna be a new feel, you know?” said Lamar head coach Jared Beshore. “Saturday night is something we never got to do here in the past, especially with the Lamar Free Fair going on that weekend. So, the community’s gonna be out and about. There’s gonna be a lot of people in town that aren’t usually in town for football.”
According to Jason West with the Missouri State High School Activities Association, there are several different factors that have contributed to games having to be rescheduled this season.
“There are going to be more games than there have been in the past that’ll be played inside the state of Missouri,” said West. “So, that is kind of pulled the crews that we have do have pretty thin in addition to the fact that we haven’t seen as many new crews coming on.”
West went on to say that they do have a few programs in place to help recruit more referees. For example the Trade Your Stripes program waives the first year of registration fees for veterans and active military.
You can find more information on those programs and how you can apply on the MSHSAA website.