For several years there has been a shortage of officials in the IHSA and after schedules were super disrupted due to COVID-19 the problem has become worse. There isn’t enough incentive for people to want to ref high school games anymore. Pay-per-game rates range from $50 for junior tackle football, $45-$65 for junior high, $65 for high school junior varsity, and $85 for varsity. That pay is not enough to attract people to want to be a ref and it doesn’t make people want to stick with the job for along time. This leads to new officials that aren’t experience, which results in poorly officiated games. To bring this back to how COVID-19 disrupted things, many referees are opting not to officiate during these times because they either refuse to wear a mask when running back and forth on the field or court, and others refuse to officiate because they’re scared of the chance of contracting the virus. The job is way too stressful when you are just starting out since you need to have a perfect understanding of the rules. There needs to be better benefits for refs so that more will want to become one and actually stick with it. If that happens then the shortage of refs will be over and we will start to see better officiated games.