North Iowa officiating shortage is no longer a concern; it’s a crisis, and athletes will be the victims.

The start of the baseball and softball season is roughly a month away, but according to North Iowa superintendent Joe Erickson, the season will likely have bumps in the road.

According to Erickson, the shortage of summer baseball and softball umpires in the Top of Iowa Conference is already deciding when games are or aren’t scheduled.

Varsity doubleheaders aren’t new in summer sports in Iowa; the larger conferences have done doubleheaders for years. Though, especially for baseball with the pitch count rules, the larger schools are more tooled to withstand those doubleheaders. For schools in the Top of Iowa, conference doubleheaders would need to be scheduled to allow for rest of the schools’ pitchers. Erickson also didn’t rule out the possibility of playing games on Saturdays.

Listening to a local baseball or softball game on the radio or attending the local rivalry game in person seems like a typical Iowa tradition in the summer. But those games in the past only happened because of the officials who gave up their evening to officiate. Erickson praised the North Iowa officials and said we need more good officials to keep the games going long term.

Some may be concerned about trying something new, either because they’re worried about parent backlash or making mistakes. However, Erickson says the organizations involved try to get more experience to those new umpires with under-level games and will with you.

Erickson closed by speaking to those who played sports in high school or college. He says for those games to have happened in the past, it took umpires and game officials. Now, to keep the games going for the future generation, North Iowa needs new officials.

To learn more about becoming an official, go to – Those wanting to learn more can also contact their local athletic director, or in North Iowa, contact an official you already know, and they will help you get started.




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