Shortage of umpires

Discussion in 'The Umpires Life and Rulings' started by Rerun, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. Rerun

    Rerun Super Moderator Staff Member

    I hear people saying there a shortage of umpires, but it seems like tournaments are finding umpires.

    two questions, what the average age of umpires? If there a shortage why?
  2. Justamom

    Justamom Member

    We had a pair younger than our 18U players this weekend. The girls were flirting hard until they found out their ages.
  3. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    The shortages have been at high peak times, like during the high school season when you have a hundred games to cover, or during the summer when you have multiple huge tournaments going on the same weekend.

    It doesn’t surprise me that things are getting covered right now. There aren’t too many tournaments going on.
  4. PaulP

    PaulP Member

    I’m surprised we had enough umps this summer. Thank you. Wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this summer with our daughters without them.
    RedsDad likes this.
  5. Passion4theGame

    Passion4theGame Super Moderator Staff Member

    I believe the umpires need paid just a little more and we wouldn't have problems finding them. We would also get umpires that give it their all instead of them acting as if they didn't miss the call. They would actually want to be there. Some of the guys we had this year behind the plate just did not want to be there and it showed. I can't blame them when I hear what they are getting paid. Some Directors negotiated the umpire pay because of covid. What??!! we didn't pay less so why are you? I will not blast anyone on here. They know who they are. Doesn't matter either way to me but I would think the guys would be more into it if they are getting a fair price per game. They wouldn't look like their doing their grocery list in the field. Umpires put up with a lot of crap from parents and classless coaches. They deserve a few extra bucks. JMO
    Duke3dh likes this.
  6. Captain_Thunder

    Captain_Thunder Super Moderator Staff Member

    We have been discussing increasing Umpire pay for 2021.
    They def deserve it! If everyone did what we are discussing - it would cost on average another $60-70 per team per tournament.
    I think it would be well worth it! But what does the majority think???
    You have a lot of "So Called" Select Teams that seem to be fine with playing a game with One Umpire wearing a T-shirt and shorts, just to save a few bucks....
    That is NOT TRAVEL BALL!!!
    We are discussing raising pay, because we want the Best! When many are happy to save a few bucks, yet whine - it gets hard to improve the product!
    Teams Need to make sure they are going to set a standard if we are going to improve in all aspects! If people are content playing like 3rd rate, then it will be hard for those wanting to provide 1st Rate!
    Stop settling for low cost ways if you want Top Level Products!!! Doesn't matter if it's A, B, or C level - It's SELECT Ball!!!
  7. Passion4theGame

    Passion4theGame Super Moderator Staff Member

    Umpires need to band together and not get short changed. Something like a union would help out. But you can’t get paid more and still do a bad job out there. They have to give what they are getting paid. I think now we get what we pay for. It shows. Many videos of missed calls this season. Does no good arguing. They are human. We make mistakes but had they not been doing their grocery list in the field and focused they may have made the right call. If they are getting paid more does it change? Who knows.
  8. Tallmadge Force Gold

    Tallmadge Force Gold Active Member

    Maybe there should be an umpire rating system. The travel teams could rate the umpires. The higher the rating, the higher their pay. We had two umpires on Friday and Saturday this past weekend that were great. Hustled on every play to get into position to make the call. Communicated with each other during plays throughout the game. Excellent demeanor with the coaches. I know most of the people wanting to do a rating would be because they were mad about the umps but I would have gone out of my way to give these two excellent ratings.
  9. Bob_Himmelein

    Bob_Himmelein Moderator

    I think if we are going to rate umpires, umpire should rate coaches. The whole idea of a varied pay system is absolutely unworkable and a TD nightmare.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
    mroby5172 likes this.
  10. flygirlsdad

    flygirlsdad Active Member

    What does an ump get paid for a game? If you want to pay umps better and charge teams more, dont have 70 minute timed games.
    RedsDad likes this.
  11. Tallmadge Force Gold

    Tallmadge Force Gold Active Member

    OHSAA already does it with rating officials. You wouldn't have to pay each umpire a varied amount by their rating but you could raise your pay to umpires and create a higher minimum score for more qualified umpires. A TD now just has to "hope" that the unknown umpires he is hiring are good. A rating system could help alleviate that problem. You could also have evaluators going to games randomly to evaluate the umpires. The assigners I have worked with in the past did some of this stuff to maintain a quality group of umpires that you could always count on.
    daboss likes this.
  12. Passion4theGame

    Passion4theGame Super Moderator Staff Member

    A rating system would never work. I say this because some coaches want to blame the outcome of the game on the umpires. Bottom line the outcome on the game is on the team and coaches not umpires. Umpires are human. They are going to make bad calls but if we are hitting the snot out of the ball and playing lockdown defense then there’s no excuses to be tossed onto the umpires. Many times this season asst. coaches would want to blame the loss on the umpires bad calls and make excuses. Personally That doesn’t fly with me. Stop making excuses and execute. Bottom line. rating system would be nice but I don’t see it working.
    I just think the bigger tournaments need the more experienced Umpires and come off the hip pocket a little more. Us coaches keep paying the higher entries every year and nothing changes except the depth of the TDs pockets. I am all about these TDs doing this full time for a living but the officiating needs to be a little better and I think the only way that happens is more pay. IMO
    Bob_Himmelein and mroby5172 like this.
  13. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    I love what one umpire told me years ago: “I don’t umpire for the money...but I don’t umpire for free either!”.

    The umpire pool is what it is. The experience level of the umpires is what it is. The dedication and enthusiasm of the umpires is what it is.

    None of that will change if you pay an extra five dollars a game. You’ll be paying five dollars more, but still getting the exact same umpires, with the exact same experience, and exact same enthusiasm. And I’m saying this as a person that would stand to gain if umpires were paid more!
  14. Passion4theGame

    Passion4theGame Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks BretMan! you are always upfront and to the point. great points and view on the situation. You are absolutely correct now that I sit back and think about it.
  15. Bob_Himmelein

    Bob_Himmelein Moderator

    I am OHSAA certified in several sports, the so-called "rating system" is more of a who is friends with who in many cases and you will hear, assignors are short of officials, but they ignore many because they are not part of their association etc. This is not necearily a knock on OHSAA, but simply the way it is. Doesn't matter what the sport. The whole OHSAA system is based on points and given coaches, assignor, school officials and AD's, some of which are not even at games or matches. We could go on with this, but that is another discussion.
    We have our group of umpires and take care on who we bring in and use. I am a TD and run umpires for several other events each summer and we continue to grow. We take care of our own very well and donate proceeds to charities etc as well.
    As Passion for the Game says, "I say this because some coaches want to blame the outcome of the game on the umpires. Bottom line the outcome on the game is on the team and coaches not umpires." Brent is right, if you are only umpiring for the money, than you should find another line of work and another group to work with.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
    Passion4theGame likes this.
  16. PaulP

    PaulP Member

    The pay has to cover their expenses, at least, or you will get what you pay for. We had two, out-of-state umps for a game this summer. Both had worked together for years, and it showed. Even if you do it for the love of the games, you still have to pay for gas, food, and maybe lodging. Perhaps some of the stay to play premium should go toward umps?
  17. NWCbus0124

    NWCbus0124 New Member

    I don't know about USSSA or ASA, but OHSSA surveyed officials a year or 2 back. The average age of OHSAA softball umpires was 58. That was the highest average age for OHSAA 0fficials. In all sports the average age was over 50. Basketball the lowest @ 52. They found more officials over age 60 than under age 30.

    They also found that 80% of sports officials quit before completing their second season. The number 1 reason is treatment by coaches and parents. That poor retention rate has been consistent for years. A secondary effect of poor retention and the ensuing shortage is that assignors/directors are sometimes forced to use officials they would prefer not to hire, (poor attitude/poor judgement or both) because they need games covered.

    The shortage exists in all sports. In some areas schools are being encouraged to stagger game schedules. Not everyone can play football or basketball on Friday night. Some moved to Saturday morning or afternoon so they can find officials.

    Unless things change it will only get worse as the current officials age and retire. COVID may accelerate that process.

    I tell other parents; "Look at the officials working your kids games. How many are your age or younger? How many of them will still be out there when your kindergartener reaches middle school or high school?
    daboss, Bob_Himmelein and BretMan2 like this.
  18. Bob_Himmelein

    Bob_Himmelein Moderator

    We talk often in our group about who will be umpiring in five years as numbers decline. Yes, it is hard to get young umpires for many reasons and even harder to maintain them as being in their 20's they have other interests and commitments.
  19. jpkeating

    jpkeating Member

    One thing people don’t realize is umpireing is hard on the body. Now I’m not talking if you do 2 or 3 games in a day. I’m talking 6 or 7 games in a day for 2 or 3 days in a row. It’s hard on the feet, legs and sometimes your back. Allot of people decide this just isn’t worth it and quite doing tournament.
    I can’t tell you how many umpires I’ve seen popping Motrin like it was candy between games.
  20. BretMan2

    BretMan2 TSZ/OFC Umpire in Chief

    Nobody should be scheduled for six or seven games that doesn’t want to work six or seven games. The guys that assign tournaments for me are very accommodating. If you tell them you only want to work two or three games, then that’s all they’ll assign for you.

    I’m not aware of anybody who was ever forced to work more games than they wanted to work.
    jpkeating likes this.

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