Sports Zone

Referee shortage, abuse lead OSAA to issue public notice

Usually when referees make headlines it’s about blown calls. Recently around the state referees have been the talk of the town for different reasons. 

Before the season began, the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) expressed that it needed more referees for high school games, otherwise there might be a shortage for the season. It seems as though that shortage happened, and it’s affected many schools and sports throughout the state. We’ve seen that in our area as well, as the Creswell at Pleasant Hill football game on Friday, Oct. 21 has been moved to a 5 p.m. start time due to lack of available officials on that date. “Moving the time up was the lesser of the unfavorable options of moving the game to Thursday or Saturday,” Creswell athletic director Brandon Standridge said. 

In other ref news, on Sept. 16, the OSAA posted a column co-authored by Dr. Karissa Niehoff, chief executive officer of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and Peter Weber, executive director of the OSAA. The opinion piece addressed harassment of officials by coaches, parents and fans – and called for it to stop. 

The article cited a national survey of officials that had some scary statistics: 55% of officials say verbal abuse from coaches, parents and fans is the No. 1 reason they quit, 59% don’t feel respected, 57% think sportsmanship is getting worse, 84% feel officials are treated unfairly by spectators, and 46% have felt unsafe or feared for their safety due to spectator, coach, administrator or player behavior. 

One reason for why the ref shortage is this harassment, and it needs to get better or the referee shortage will worsen.

Another controversy bubbled up after an OSAA soccer rules interpretation memo sent to officials and coaches contained sexist language.

Soccer state rules interpreter Patrick Duffy came under fire for the bulletin that was meant to explain trends that the rules interpreter has seen. Duffy had noticed an uptick in red cards in girls games for “violent conduct.” The bulletin, written by Duffy, had multiple sexist lines, including one where Duffy said that boys and girls soccer should be refereed differently because, “girls are much less likely to want to play through some contact with opponents that boys typically want to shrug off.” 

There was immediate backlash from coaches, players and parents, including the entire Parkrose girls team wearing black shirts before a game that read “Same Game, Same Rules.”

Duffy agreed to undergo “NFHS implicit bias and OSAA equity training courses in order to continue in his role.”

See good, do good

■ South Valley Athletics, a youth organization located in Cottage Grove, has a free sports closet. SVA offers equipment to players who need it. If you have any gently used basketball shoes, shorts, soccer cleats, shin guards, volleyball knee pads or any sports attire for families who could use them, call the SVA office at 541-942-3079.

■ The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs partnered with the Portland Thorns and Timbers Football Clubs to honor the service and sacrifice of the more than 28,000 women veterans living in Oregon. The Women Veterans Appreciation Night was held Sept. 25.

HOF inductees announced

■ Cottage Grove High School announced its Hall of Fame Class of 2022. The inductees are: Bob Jeremiah (football), Mike Gates (coach), Robin Mullin (track & field), Romney Taylor (water polo, swimming), Tim Corzine (swimming), Heather Bridgens (coach), Bruce Davidson (track & field), Jerry Thompson (community contributor), and the entire 1968 swim team. The inductees will be celebrated at the football game vs. Stayton on Friday before the induction ceremony on Saturday.

Creswell gamer wins tournament

Doug McMahan of Creswell helped his team win the International VR League Season 1 tournament. McMahan, in-game name Thief, and his four teammates won the Miami VAIL Major in 2-1 fashion, winning the $20,000 prize money in the process. This year the esports market was valued at just over $1.38 billion dollars.

Pierre Weil covers sports for The Chronicle



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