Referee shortage: It’s a big problem for high school and youth sports that is getting worse

Posted on November 1, 2019 in Newspaper.

By Phil Anastasia

Think high school football.

Think Friday night lights.

Think of a special gathering time and place for students, parents, alumni and other supporters of athletes clad as colorfully as the leaves in the trees that surround the stadiums.

Think Thursday night, too?

Fans of the sport in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey might soon find out because officials on both sides of the river are pushing hard for more football teams to play on Thursday nights starting next season to account for a disturbing development: A shortage of officials.

“Something has to be done,” said Ernie Gallagher, a long-time assignor of officials for both the Philadelphia Public League and Philadelphia Catholic League as well as several youth leagues. “We’re having a problem covering all these games [on Friday nights], and it’s only going to get worse.”

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