Referees are getting less, but receiving more appreciation

in Sports

Sports referees don’t get much positive publicity.

Like Gene Menees of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association recalled recently, “It’s the old adage … You got to start out being perfect when you’re an official and get better from that point.”

However, during the pandemic this basketball season, that’s been different. Officials are being looked at in a different light, as they are working for less money to help offset financial losses that have hit high school athletics at the gate. Spectators are restricted to players’ parents or guardians and immediate household members due to the increase in COVID-19 infections.

That restriction, which continues through Jan. 19, was initiated with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 70 on Dec. 21.

“What we did with officials’ fees was a direct result of the Governor’s order that drastically restricted people in the gym, which would drastically reduce the amount of gate,” said Menees, whose duties at the TSSAA include overseeing basketball and officials.

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