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Recruiting Officials: Thinking Outside the Box

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Is there an obvious pool of potential football officials that we are ignoring? In these times of critical shortages at the youth and high school levels, is it incumbent on our associations to develop recruitment and development strategies for this neglected market?

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One idea we have had at our school is to try and recruit officials for all sports from within out halls. We have looked at creating a class in the PE department that will look at team sports, rules, and game play. This class will hopefully be on the schedule for next school year. One part of this class will be helping students with the skills and information needed to take and pass officiating tests to allow them to be licensed officials after they have graduated. We have a lot of students who love the sport but may not want to or be able to play at the next level. Giving them this skill and comfort level in knowing rules, situations, and how to handle situations with coaches and fans will hopefully draw a new and youthful group to officiating in all sports. The goal it to have them look at two or three sports they may be interested in to help add depth to the officiating pool. 

 

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32 minutes ago, CoachJones said:

One idea we have had at our school is to try and recruit officials for all sports from within out halls. We have looked at creating a class in the PE department that will look at team sports, rules, and game play. This class will hopefully be on the schedule for next school year. One part of this class will be helping students with the skills and information needed to take and pass officiating tests to allow them to be licensed officials after they have graduated. We have a lot of students who love the sport but may not want to or be able to play at the next level. Giving them this skill and comfort level in knowing rules, situations, and how to handle situations with coaches and fans will hopefully draw a new and youthful group to officiating in all sports. The goal it to have them look at two or three sports they may be interested in to help add depth to the officiating pool. 

 

This would be awesome and I know several other schools who have considered this. Please contact the IFOA if you need any curriculum help with football. I'm sure they would be happy to help provide it. Definitely connect with your local officiating association (likely Western out of Lafayette). I'm sure they would provide assistance as well.

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One thing I did when I taught PE is have kids rotate responsibilities that included being an official for a given game we were playing.

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Our association has hit the high school halls in some schools.  At least for basketball.  

There is one senior who has been officiating middle school games all through high school.

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The IFOA did an excellent video a couple years ago to help recruit videos. It's always good to share in conversations like this. Especially if you are a HS senior or current college student, please watch this and ask if you are ready to walk away from the football field yet. The IFOA can help you get started! It's a great way to make some side money during college and if you find out you love it you have tapped into a great network of people and a great avocation you can do for many years. You could even make it to D1 or the NFL! Indiana has produced several NFL officials including Region native and Purdue grad John Parry, who worked the Super Bowl last weekend!

 

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