LOCAL CHAPTER OF BASKETBALL OFFICIALS SEEKING NEW OFFICIALS (8 PHOTOS)
(2022-11-13)By TIM BIRNEY
The Sports Reports
ELMIRA — It’s an
issue all over the country, and our area is not immune: there’s a
shortage of high school officials in nearly every sport.
McCawley, the board president of the Southern New York Basketball
Officials Association, says several factors are at work in the dwindling
numbers of basketball officials.
“Part of our issue is the guys who have been doing this for a long time are getting older, and we’re on the downhill slide.
“We’ve got some newer guys involved the last few years, but in between, so to speak, is empty,” noted McCawley.
is the hard part,” he added. “We’ll get three or four new guys a year,
if we can keep one of them we’re doing well. “I’d like to see us get a
dozen, and keep four or five.
One of the reason for the dwindling number of officials is the lack of youth basketball being played that isn’t AAU basketball.
other problem we have with retaining people is we don’t the feeder
programs anymore — the youth leagues have dried up,” said McCawley.
“We use to send guys to the CYO leagues to train and gain experience, but those no longer exist.
the guys are getting thrown into the fire with their first experience
being at the modified and JV level,” noted McCawley.
first started, 30-plus years ago, the officials use to host a preseason
tournament with all the CYO teams from all over — a big tournament,”
continued McCawley. “We would take the new guys coming in that year, and
that’s where we would train them.
“We don’t have anything like that anymore,” he added.
of the problem, says McCawley, is not knowing how to get involved, but
the major underlying issue is the attitude of fans these days.
think the other problem for sustainability is, ‘Can you handle the heat
in the kitchen?’ … you have to have big shoulders in this kind of
“That’s really now becoming our biggest Achilles’ Heel — the fans and the way we’re treated,” said McCawley.
had issues where officials have been chased out of gyms, and people
have met them at their vehicles,” he added. “Those are the situations
where guys throw their hands up and say, ‘I don’t need this anymore.’”
McCawley believes officiating is a great way to stay involved when your playing days are done.
you have an interest in basketball, or any high school sport for that
matter, and you’re interested in staying involved … if you can’t play,
or don’t play anymore, but you still want to be involved, then
officiating is a great way to do that,” he said.
“You’re not only staying involved, but you can earn a couple bucks in the process,” McCawley added.
officials will earn $103.50 per game this season, while JV officials
will make $62.10 per game, and modified / junior officials will make
McCawley and others are hoping that the governing
bodies for high school sports will begin to take a much tougher stance
on fans and their interactions with officials.
Section IV is currently in the process of crafting a new policy dealing with how abusive fans will be dealt with.
you’re interested in becoming a basketball official, you can contact
Mike McCawley at (607) 857-1115, or via e-mail at
“We offer training. We just don’t throw the new guys straight into the fire,” laughed McCawley.
is a nominal cost, you’ll have to purchase uniforms,” he noted. “We’re
trying to ease some of the fees, like keeping the cost of the classes we
keep to a bare minimum, knowing uniforms have to be purchased.
“We reimburse for finger-printing because we know guys won’t start getting money in until the games start,” he added.
IN PHOTO 1: Basketball official Al Engelbert. … PHOTOS BY BRIAN FEES.
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