We are on the precipice of baseball season here in Iowa. Though most states play their season in the spring, the Hawkeye State is one of the few across the country that still takes up America's pastime in the heat of summer.

As the season quickly approaches, the Iowa High School Athletic Association is searching for umpires to officiate its ball games, and like almost every other job at the moment, there's a significant need when it comes to these positions.

There's almost no one that wants these jobs.

As shared by KCCI, "According to Lewie Curtis of the IHSAA, the number of umpires has dropped significantly since the pandemic began in 2020."

This is what he had to say:

We just didn't get everybody back. There are just not as many (officials) in any sport. ... If there are people that have thought about it -- and this could be high school-age kids, college-age kids who are looking for a summer job -- it only costs $20 as a student to be a registered official.

The IHSAA website adds this in regards to high school or college students officiating:

  • High school students are eligible to obtain a license and officiate sub-varsity and junior high contests.
  • Armed Forces personnel will have licensing fees waived for their first two years of officiating (form below).

It was added by sports anchor Jeff Dubrof in the video that the number of umps has been 'dwindling for decades,' and it 'might be reaching a boiling point.'

If you would like to register to become an umpire for the summer baseball season, you can follow this link.

The coming umpire clinics will be held at the following locations:

  • Cedar Rapids Washington High School, April 20
  • Le Mars Middle School, April 27
  • Johnston High School, May 4

This isn't the first time Iowa has had to face the issue at hand, either. The umpire shortage was reported on by WHO13 just last year.

Though the story did cite COVID-19 as an issue as well as the retirement of previous officials, newer umpires pointed to the verbal attacks they received from fans.

Here's that story:

IHSAA Executive Director Tom Keating also said this to the news station:

It can be challenging, but I think the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’re giving young people an opportunity to do something they really love outweighs any of the stress that comes with it, and really, we can’t play the games without them.

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