Carlsbad: Lack of local officials puts games in danger

From the Carlsbad - CARLSBAD - With summer winding down, local athletes, coaches and parents can all look forward to school sports seasons starting up. Excuse the local referees, however, if they are not so eager. Mike Thompson, group leader of Carlsbad's basketball officials, expects to lose one to three local referees this season, which would bring the group's size down to 10-12. In the "worst case" scenario of trying to cover the season with only 10 officials, Thompson said approximately 10 lower-level games could be cancelled due to their inability to cover them. Carlsbad is losing referees to work related conflicts, injuries and age. At age 48, Thompson is still one of the youngest local basketball officials and can cite at least seven current injuries he is dealing with - after the offseason. After him there is a big drop off in age down to Michael Barnhart, 27, the only new referee willing to join the crew last year. Even if they do make it through this season without any cancellations the situation won't get any better because the group isn't getting any younger. With the crew's average age reaching into the 50's it is only a matter of time before they see drastic turnover. Thompson can only hope there are new, younger officials to turnover to when that time comes. Read more


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