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Eagan creates class to teach kids to officiate in response to referee shortage

Eagan High School offering referee class
Eagan High School offering referee class 02:49

EAGAN, Minn. -- The shortage of referees and umpires at all levels of amateur sports has been a hot topic for the past several years. So, at Eagan High School, they came up with a unique solution to help the cause.

"There was a need. We had to start moving games. Friday night football games now became Thursday night games. And when you asked, it was about the shortage of referees," Assistant Principal Pete Zak said.

Enter a new class to the curriculum at Eagan. They are offering officiating courses for five different sports trying to create interest and a feeder system.

"You name it, there's a shortage of referees and you look at, kind of pay attention to the referees who are out there when we're at these games, the officials are very good but their age is getting a little bit older as we as we go," teacher Pat Dorsey said.

One of his students is a starting cornerback on the football team and happens to be Dorsey's son, Adam.

"As as an athlete, I felt like if you're able to like ref games and you also kind of learn the rules in a better way," Adam Doresy said. "So it also would help you play the sport better, but it gives you the appreciation for what have you learned. It's a lot harder a lot harder than you think."

So they are calling on athletes and students that enjoy sports to look at it differently.

"As a freshman in high school, I had to quit a few of the sports, but I was still really interested in sports and being a fan out a lot of basketball games and football games. I got really interested to seeing the game from officials perspective," one student said.

The course opens up opportunities for the future.

"They can see a future and let's get them started at the lower levels and hopefully some of them to the upper levels, or maybe even make it a career. Kids can go to college and make a living during college refereeing games," Zak said.

They are also learning what referees feel during every time out.

"How to deal with, you know, parents, how to deal with players, how to deal with coaches, fans that have an emotional investment, right? They have an emotional desire for that call whether it's right or wrong."

The only thing missing is a demographic he'd like to incorporate.

"I've gotten 100% boys in the fall. It'd be nice to reach out to some of the girls to to get involved with this class as well," Dorsey said.

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