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WIAA to Consider One-Umpire Games for Junior Level Baseball Games

How many umpires do you need to keep a baseball game fair?

That's one question coming out of the annual WIAA meeting that happened Wednesday in Stevens Point. Some schools are struggling to find two officials for every game and say that there is a statewide shortage.

Currently there is a requirement during WIAA games that you have to at least start with a home plate umpire and a base umpire.

But in theory you might only need one official.

Kevin Grossoehme, President of the Wisconsin Umpires Association, said he isn't sold on the idea.

"Every umpire wants to get the call right. You always hear this from the major league guys. And you just couldn't do it doing a one-man show," Grossoehme said.

But the one-umpire scenario might be more manageable at a junior level (games for sixth and seventh graders). That's because the playing field is smaller at those games, Grossoehme said.

Single-officiating for junior level games is the idea the WIAA is looking in to after a representative from Hudson spoke out about the officiating shortage.

"We usually get about 60 people that pay to come through our training. And I think this year we had seven or eight people that actually licensed with the wiaa to do high school," Grossoehme said.

A possible reason? Officiating is up to a three hour time commitment to get paid about $50. And often umpires have to deal with rowdie parents or fans, Grossoehme said.

"And they're saying 'I'm getting all this guff for $50?' A lot of people just don't think it's worth it," Grossoehme said.

This isn't the first adjustment of officiating rules coming from the WIAA. Recently, in football, the WIAA dropped the number of required referees from five to four.
 

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