High school sports officials shortage in Colorado: Low pay, fan behavior driving refs away

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DENVER — It’s become a major issue across the country, and Colorado is not immune. A shortage of high school officials, that sometimes forces cancellations of games.

Officials across the country are hanging up their whistles due to low pay, poor fan behavior or career changes. Most officials would tell you they don’t do it for the money, but rather the love of the game and to give back to the student-athletes.

CHSAA is doing its part to try and recruit and retain more officials.

On Wednesday, the CHSAA’s legislative council will vote on a proposal that could increase the pay substantially for some officials in some sports.

Under the new plan, basketball referees would receive $60 per game, that’s up $8 from the current payout – or a 15% raise. Soccer officials would receive a $7 pay bump per game for a total of $59 per game.

It will also include an increased travel stipend for officials in all sports.

“Everybody stays in it for a reason and everybody leaves for a reason,” said Jeff Gotto, an area director for basketball officials. “Is it the money? We don’t do it for the money. It’s nice to be compensated fairly for what we’re doing. I hope with this increase we can say yes.”

Officials in most other CHSAA sanctioned sports received about a $2 pay increase per game in 2018.

Here is a look at the plan that will be voted on Wednesday.

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