Hibbing’s Minnesota North College offering new officiating courses to battle referee shortage

by Annika Freiburger

*Written by Alicia Tipcke, WDIO

Hibbing, Mn – A shortage of referees continues to impact Northland sports across all levels.

In just the past week Ashland football had to move a game from last Friday up to Thursday, and a Duluth Marshall volleyball game against Lakeview Christian Academy on Tuesday turned into a scrimmage, both due to a lack of officials.

Well Minnesota North College, previously known as Hibbing Community College, is working to be part of the solution.

This October they’re launching their first single credit officiating course. Students or community members can learn the fundamentals of basketball reffing, then this spring Hibbing hopes to offer baseball and softball classes.

“This is a great opportunity for somebody to come in, get the equipment, go out there and work a game,” course leader, longtime ref, and softball coach Babe Glumack said. “You’re not out there for more than two-and-a-half, three hours, you’re going to make some cash on the side, and it’s going to be fun.”

Hibbing’s dean of liberal arts Aaron Reini explained the class.

“It’s an eight week course, second half of the semester for this basketball officiating course. During the first part of the course they’ll get classroom training but then they’ll also be able to put it into practice, getting some experience at perhaps those lower age levels where officials are sorely needed.”

Reini added there are still plenty of spots open in this semester’s class. They are also looking towards offering officiating courses for football and volleyball in the future.