A few schools across the nation are having officiating classes for high school students to get them involved early and to help teach them what it takes to be an official.

St. James High School in Southern Minnesota has a class that will count toward their phy ed credits, but it is not just in Minnesota that an officiating shortage is happening. It is across the country.

In Lockport, Illinois, which is about 30 miles from Chicago, the city has seen the worst shortage of officials in youth sports. So, Lockport High School will now hold an officiating class that has 180 kids enrolled in it for the 2018-19 school year, according to the Chicago Tribune.

This is a great way to get kids involved at a young age into officiating. Officiating is not for everybody, but there is no harm in learning more about officiating basketball, football, baseball, volleyball or any other high school sport out there.

Without officials, there are no games for kids to play at any level. The shortage is real, and if people don't step up to officiate these games, there will be none to be played.

I was an umpire here in Southeast Minnesota for high school baseball, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It is a way to give back to a game that gave so much to me, and the pay is way better. Certified officials are getting anywhere between $25 to $100 a game depending on what sport you are officiating and at what level. That is some big money for just a few hours of your time.

I highly recommend kids start reading rulebooks and start officiating at the youth level, it is a great way to give back to your community!

If you want to become an MSHSL official, here is a great place to start!