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HELP WANTED: referees needed for rescheduled football and volleyball seasons

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) — There is a lot to do following Monday’s Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) vote to move football and volleyball back to fall.

One of the more immediate concerns is finding enough people to officiate games that now begin in just a few weeks.

League assignors (people who schedule referees for games) sent out surveys this week to see which officials are still able or willing to work the rescheduled fall seasons.

“We were short going into COVID-19 and now we will be even shorter because people are opting out,” said Rochester Area Officials Association Football Assignor Jared Butson.

“It’s going to be challenging from an officials standpoint,” said Rochester Area Officials Association Volleyball Assignor Jeff Newton. “Officials have moved on and started to do other stuff, but we’ll work together and rally together.”

Both assignors said they understand and fully support officials who opt out of the season for safety reasons. But with the games going on, the need for officials and referees remains.

The MSHSL shift also sent athletic directors scrambling to try and schedule games for the season on very short notice.

“Typically this time this year we’re working on the volleyball schedule but that volleyball schedule is for 2021,” said St. Charles Athletic Director Scott McCready. “So, today we hammered out a volleyball schedule for a week and a half from now.”

Getting as many games as possible means some football games will not be played under the Friday night lights. ADs and assignors agree games will need to be flexed to Saturdays and potentially even Thursday nights for officiating crews to be able to cover all the games in the area.

Everyone agrees all those involved will need to remain flexible.

Volleyball and football schedules are expected to be completed by the end of this week. Meanwhile state officials are continuing to work out protocols for keeping players, coaches and officials safe when games return.

If you'd like to become a referee through the Rochester Area Officials Association or would like more information, click here.

Zach Fuller

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