Illinois students can take online officiating course

October 31, 2023 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
High school students in Illinois are taking classes to get their referee licenses to officiate youth sports referees.

When the students pass the class, they become licensed referees for the Illinois High School Association and Illinois Elementary School Association.

illinoisA recent story from My Courier-Journal detailed how Illinois high school students are getting their referee licenses. Below is an excerpt from the My Courier-Journal story.

The online elective class is focusing on basketball officiating for this school semester, according to guidance director Dan Williams. The class consists of students going through case studies, videos and rulebooks via Google Classroom; Williams also said that they get to go out and referee real games to get experience under their belts.

“It’s essentially in an effort to establish more officials for the IHSA and IESA sports,” Williams said, “since there is such a drastic shortage.”

Once they get their license, Williams said that 15- and 16-year-old students could officiate games ninth grade and below, while 17-year-olds could referee varsity contests.

Williams started up the class two years ago alongside physical education teacher John Walter in the hopes of bringing more people into the fold of officiating. School sports associations have said that fan and coach belligerence, as well as older officials retiring, were the primary factors driving referees out of the job by the thousands.

Only three or four students signed up for the class when it was first available and no one enrolled last school year, Williams said. This year, however, the class has nine students.

“I don’t know if it’s because the shortage of officials is more out there,” he said. “It’s kind of a hot topic.”

Both students and school sports associations were receptive to the class, Williams said. Many of the class members were already basketball players, he said, and knowing the rules of the game gave them “a different perspective when they’re playing.” As for school sports associations, Williams said that they were eager to “boost their numbers: by getting these students on board.

To read the full story from the My Journal-Courier, click here.