High schools being asked to play some football games on Thursdays due to referee shortage
BATON ROUGE - High school football in Louisiana is a huge deal. Large crowds pack the stands to cheer on their teams on Friday nights.
"They call it 'Friday Night Lights' for a reason. Everyone would prefer to play Friday night," Neil Weiner, the head football coach of the Dunham School, told WBRZ.
But that tradition is breaking, as schools are being asked to play at least one Thursday night game a week. The main reason? Not enough refs.
Weiner says many referees are hanging up the striped shirt lately.
"It's tough to be an official these days. They got to hear it from coaches ranting and raving, they have to hear it from fans, people go online and are critical," he said.
Football referees make about $100 a game. For some, that money isn't enough, especially when they have to deal with fights like the one last week at McKinley High, where benches were cleared and helmets were thrown.
Even if there aren't any violent fights, referees are still on the field with players and are putting themselves in harm's way.
"They can get concussions, they can get broken legs and bones, they can tear ACLs," Weiner said.
Even though more Thursday games may become the norm, Weiner says he appreciates what officials do for the kids even if the coaching staff doesn't show it all the time.
"We do love and appreciate what they do," he said.
If you want to learn how to be a referee through LHSOA, click here for more information.
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