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Area referees juggling hectic schedule after games postponed

Some are saying this is the worst winter they’ve ever seen for high school basketball.

BETTENDORF, Iowa-- The winter weather has not only hit Quad Cities streets and powerlines hard, but it's also taken a toll on high school sports.

Commissioner of Officials for the MAC and Western Big 6 Conference Mike Botts estimates nearly 100 basketball games have been canceled and postponed this season.

"We've not had this problem before," he says. "It's been worse this year than it's ever been."

Botts is in charge of coordinating 250 referees for area games. With so many cancellations, he says teams are running out of time to make up games.

"What's the problem is now we're pushing up towards the tournaments," he says. "And there's just not enough days in the week to get these scheduled."

For now, make-up games are keeping referees busy.

Don Umland, who's been a ref in the Quad Cities for more than two decades, is officiating at least three games this week. He says he's had 12 games canceled this season.

"There's a lot of hopping around and sacrifice to your friends and family because you're not going to be home as many nights," he says. "When you're in an indoor sport, it's more regulated, you can plan. And I think that's the thing that's come into play. So many things are unplanned now."

But Umland says it's worth the time and effort to make sure these games happen.

"We know it's a commitment to the game," he says. "We like to be there for the kids, the coaches."

Botts says the playoffs and state tournaments are quickly approaching. He says if games continue to be canceled, freshman, sophomore and junior varsity games might be canceled without being rescheduled.