We need more officials — and this is much like the shortage of lifeguards too


Shortage of officials at WPIAL games

We need more to step up and become officials for our sports. Get your patch!

It’s a nationwide issue

We’re not replenishing the ranks of amateur sports officials to the degree that we have to. In 1976, the average age of people getting into officiating was roughly 21. In 2016, the average age was 44.

The shortage of officials is a real thing, even in swimming.

There’s a shortage of sports officials in the WPIAL, a problem that extends across Pennsylvania and stretches nationwide. The profession needs to add more young officials to its ranks, but persuading millennials like Strednak to don black-and-white stripes has proven difficult.

  • 18 years old or a high school graduate
  • must register on the PIAA website
  • pay $30, which gets them a rule book and study sheet.
  • pass the test and can take the exam twice
  • background checks that cost around $59, valid for five years.
  •  join a local chapter, dues are $45 a year 
  • attend seven meetings a year

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Swim, SKWIM and Water Polo coach and publisher in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Executive Director of SKWIM USA, a nonprofit advocate organization and webmaster to the International Swim Coaches Association. Head varsity and middle-school swim coach for The Ellis School. Former candidate for public office on multiple occasions.

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