Oregon Public Broadcasting

The referees who oversee high school sports held their first ever state conference yesterday. Yes, players, coaches, and parents can't seem to stop yelling at sports officiants. But most would admit one simple truth: "Without officials," Jack Folliard says, "it's only recess."

img_2116_small.jpgApril Baer / OPBThe OAOA covers seven sports, including football, basketball, baseball and softball.

Folliard is the executive director of the Oregon Athletic Officials Association. He stands amid some seven hundred men and women hustling into meeting rooms for continuing education. Folliard was pleased the group had managed to draw so many referees from all over Oregon.

"A lot of the coaches will say, 'If I have my team down in Medford, they call the game totally different than you do here in Portland'."

Getting refs in standardized training sessions, Folliard says, goes a long way toward solving the problem.

Also, the association is desperate to find new officials. Folliard estimates the state has about 10% fewer officials than schools need.

He says if you can take all the heat, it's a great way to give back to sports programs, get in shape, and stay involved with the game.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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