Univ. of South Dakota, SDHSAA team up to train new officials

November 28, 2023 / Athletic Administration
The University of South Dakota has teamed up with the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) to help train sports officials and combat the ongoing referee shortage.

There are currently a little more than 1,600 officials in the state, according to the University of South Dakota. The problem is those officials continue to age while the referee shortage is still an ongoing issue.

south dakotaThe SDHSAA reached out to the university’s Department of Kinesiology and Sports Management to create a training course for students.

A recent story from Dakota News Now detailed the referee program offered by the University of South Dakota. Below is an excerpt from the Dakota News Now story.

“We’re trying to get younger people involved in officiating, and being able to talk to a couple of the classes in the KSM department here at USD was a great opportunity for us to get in front of about 150 students and share a little bit more about officiating,” said Jo Auch, assistant executive director at SDHSAA. “Almost everyone in the class was involved in athletics in some way, shape, or form, so it was a great opportunity to see if we could get them to continue on with that effort to officiate.”

Starting in the spring of 2024, students will be able to earn college credit through two different two-credit, hybrid courses: officiating volleyball and officiating football.

After completing the course, students will be able to officiate high school games and earn extra income.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to earn money while they’re in college,” said Jessie Daw, chair of the KSM department. “They can set their own schedule, the pay is really good, and they can start to develop skills like decision making and managing conflict that they can put on their resume.”

The program will use virtual reality to put students in simulated situations and allow them to practice making calls. The hands-on experience will get the students prepared to jump into the action.

To read the full story from Dakota News Now, click here.