The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

As Football Referee Availability Dwindles, Coaches and Players Adjust to New Schedules

Briana Flores
Referees discuss a play during a Creek football game against Regis on Friday, Sept. 22. Since the 2021-22 season, there have been fewer football referees as a result of early retirements. Without referees, Creek has scheduled fewer football games on Friday nights, creating issues for both players and coaches.

By the time junior tight end Stephen Dayton gets home after a Thursday night game, he has a mountain of work facing him. 

“I was probably up until one in the morning doing homework,” Dayton said. “It’s so physically exerting, [and] hard to get up for school.”

Ref shortages, which began during the 2021-22 season, have persisted into the start of this season. The issue has led to a sizable amount of games being scheduled for Thursday nights, affecting players’ performance in school.

“[I’m] not doing any school work until after the game,” senior offensive lineman AJ Burton said. “So not very much homework will be done.”

For most players, games during the week can affect their ability to stay on top of all of their homework and adequately prepare for tests over the next few days.

“It’s hard to really lock in on school especially when you have a game on Thursday,” Burton said.

“Having to play [a game] on a Thursday doesn’t feel the same,” Dayton said.

Leading up to a game, the team is focused on preparing to win, and warming up for the game which takes up most of their day.

“We’re expected to watch film, go over [the] playbook, and do all that we have so many responsibilities outside of practice that have to do with football,” Burton said.

Recovery and getting a post-game meal cause most of these players to have a long night of studying and preparing for tests on Friday.

“I don’t get home until like 10:30,” Burton said.

Coaches have also had to adapt the way they coach depending on the experience of the referee staff for each game. With a reduced number of referees, calling a tight game becomes challenging.

There’s always going to be calls missed or things of that nature,” outside linebacker coach Mike Luhring said.

Referees have seen a slight decline over the past few years, especially encouraged by COVID-19.

“A lot of [retirements] had to do with COVID. So with older membership, a lot of [refs had] the opportunity to go ahead and retire. We’ve had a lot of accelerated retirements,” veteran rule regulator George Demetriou said.

Fixing the ref shortage is critical for the continuation of youth sports. CESA, the Colorado Employment Security Act, has significantly increased pay for its officials, which has helped in the recruitment process.

“The weaker the economy, the easier it is to recruit officials because more people are interested in making extra money.“ Demetriou said.

Referees are an essential part of the game and replenishing the number of them is an essential process for CHSAA.

“You get a lot of old refs who are really experienced and some refs where it’s their first year ever reffing,” Burton said. “[But] if we didn’t have refs we wouldn’t be able to play at all.

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About the Contributors
Avery Hutchins
Avery Hutchins, Assistant Sports Editor
Hi, I’m Avery and I’m a junior at Creek. I’m the Assistant Sports Editor and this is my second year with the USJ. I’ve always had an interest in sports and enjoy writing about them. Outside of the USJ, I play baseball and tennis for Creek, play summer baseball through a club, and enjoy spending time with my family and friends.
Serenity Hurtado
Serenity Hurtado, Assistant Features Editor
Hello, My name is Serenity. I’m a sophomore and this is my first year with USJ. I love to write because it shows the different perspectives and can create a deep meaning. I really enjoy theater, science, animals, biking and hanging with family.
Briana Flores
Briana Flores, Chief Photographer
Hello, My name is Briana Flores I'm a junior currently at Cherry Creek High School and this is my first year in USJ here at this school. I really enjoy playing volleyball as I'm currently in a league outside of school. I also enjoy listening to music or hanging out with my friends. I'm doing journalism because as the years have gone by I have found much interest in writing and also photography, and I felt like journalism is the perfect match for that. I really like reading articles that are published and finding out crazy information or about something I have never heard of. I like learning about the world and current events as I hope others can enjoy that as well. I am hoping to pursue journalism and psychology in college. 

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