Mount Pleasant ISD offers sports officiating class amid referee shortage

Mount Pleasant ISD offers sports officiating class amid referee shortage
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 2:16 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2023 at 11:35 PM CDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas (KLTV) - Texas’ shortage of sports officials continues to affect many school games. But after the Texas Education Agency approval, Mount Pleasant ISD is one of the latest to offer a sports officiating class in their curriculum.

Students have the opportunity to learn the rules and mechanics of officiating and become referees to help ease the shortage.

“Many schools have had to move their game nights to accommodate officials to officiate their game because there’s such a shortage.” said John Winn, a multi-sports official and a member of the Texas Association of Sports Officials.

Winn originally approached the school district about offering the class after the Texas Education Agency approved the officiating course standards.

“And I thought, what an awesome idea to try and, it doesn’t just help out chapters it helps us out.” said Joe Cluley, Mount Pleasant ISD Athletic Director and Head Football Coach.

Winn said the class not only focuses on the how to’s of officiating, but also learning about, “Coaches emotion, parental emotion, and player emotion. If they understand those three emotions and they understand the destructive criticism that may come from any one of those groups is not personal, now they can enjoy officiating a lot more.”

Nine students are enrolled with seven already officiating. One of those is junior Adrian Tapia, who has already reffed 12 middle school games. Adrian was on the football team, but after recently being diagnosed with seizures, he had to put up his helmet.

“I saw the officiating class, and I was like, I might just join that class because I’ll still be a part of the sports. But not playing, I’m reffing and all that good stuff.”

Cluley said, “I think us kind of having some success with it and, you know, making it a priority, I think it’s going to help other schools kind of see that, hey, this could be a thing that could help you get over the hump.”

Mount Pleasant ISD plans to offer the class with more sections for the upcoming school years.