Mississippi experiencing a shortage of referees

The MHSAA needs an influx of new officials to ensure all games are staffed.

Posted: Aug 18, 2021 9:46 PM
Updated: Aug 25, 2021 9:08 PM

ABERDEEN, Miss. (WTVA) -- Imagine this scenario: Both high school football teams erupt through their school banners to the raucous cheers of the crowd, amped to play under the lights on Friday night. Then an administrator comes onto the field and tells the home coach that they have to cancel the game, not because of COVID, but because the game didn't have referees. Seem unrealistic? Well, soon it may be a harsh reality, as the number of referees in the state has gone down according to a local referee assignor.

Aberdeen native Earnest Williams has refereed games in Mississippi for nearly 30 years. He said that in all his years, he hasn't seen the referee numbers this bad. He said part of the reason recently was COVID, but the numbers started dipping before 2020 across all sports.

Mississippi needs referees to make sure all games get played.

"A little bit before covid came we started having a lack of interest," Williams said. "Maybe some could be an intimidation factor we had some guys that would get in, stay in for a year or two, dealing with crowd control, sideline control, kind of factors into people not wanting to officiate."

A lot of long-time referees are retiring and right now, there's not a lot of people from the younger generation getting certified. For Williams, he loved playing sports, and being a referee has kept him engaged in the games he loves. He encourages other former athletes to do the same, but he also asks fans and coaches to take easy on the refs, after all:

"We all human, we work hard at what we do, we got to a part of the ballgame just like the ball itself," Williams said.  "It's here in the game now because now you have a lack of officials so I'd tell the parents, let your child have fun, let the coaches coach, and let the referees ref the game."

The best part of this situation? It's an easy solution. Do you love football? Do you want to be in the game? Click here for an application.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for our Saturday. This will keep us filled with plenty of sunshine in our weather forecast for our Saturday.
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