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Jacob K. Tingle and Stacy Warner

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Stacy Warner, Jacob K. Tingle and Pamm Kellett

Referees are key sport personnel who have important responsibilities both on- and off- the field. Organized competition would not survive without referees, yet little is known about what cause referees to discontinue in the role. This research examines the experiences of former referees so that managers may better understand strategies that might encourage more referees to be retained. Fifteen previous basketball referees were interviewed about their refereeing experience. Ten themes emerged that were related to the sport development stages of referee recruitment, referee retention, and referee advancement. The results indicate that issues experienced during the retention phase (Problematic Social Interaction, Training/Mentoring, and Lack of Referee Community) and then at the advancing stage (Lack of Administrator Consideration, Administrator Decision Making, and Sport Policies) are linked to eventual departure from the role. Interestingly, off-court factors were reported as more influential in the decision to leave. Managerial strategies and implications are discussed.

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Lynn L. Ridinger, Kyungun R. Kim, Stacy Warner and Jacob K. Tingle

Building on the current sport officiating research, this study puts forth the Referee Retention Scale. Through a three-phase process, the researchers developed a valid and reliable scale to predict sport officials’ job satisfaction and intention to continue. The first phase consisted of instrument development, whereas the second phase included field testing of referees (n = 253). After exploratory factor analysis and Rasch analysis, the resultant refined scale from Phases 1 and 2 was then administered to 979 referees in Phase 3. Phase 3 results using confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the seven-factor, 28-item Referee Retention Scale was a valid and reliable tool for measuring and predicting referee retention. The results highlight the importance of considering a variety of factors associated with the referee experience, which include administrator consideration, intrinsic motives, mentoring, remuneration, sense of community, lack of stress, and continuing education. A discussion on how the Referee Retention Scale can help administrators manage and retain sport officials is included.