Today, there is a shortage of football
officials all over the country. If you think you might be interested in
becoming a football official, please read over the following information.
Why would you want to be a football official?
To be involved with the game of football.
To be a positive role model to children and young adults.
You will build relationships like no others and make lifelong friends.
You will be able to make a little extra money.
To meet the challenge of officiating. As an official, you have to deal with stress and pressure and make
Are you qualified and able?
Officiating is a very demanding avocation.
Are you physically fit? Football officiating is very physically demanding.
You are constantly moving and work outside in the elements. It can be very hot, very cold,
Are you emotionally fit?
Do you take criticism well?
Can you stay calm under pressure?
Can you commit time to officiating? During the season, many times you will need to be
off work before 5:00. You will also need to dedicate time to studying the rules both
during the season and during the off-season to fully understand them.
How do you get started?
So, you've thought about it and you're ready to get stared.
Find your local association. Click on your state below to get the contact information.
Get in touch with officials in your area. Much of officiating is about networking.
The more people you know, the easier it is to get started and established.
Find an older or experienced official to be your mentor. A wealth of knowledge can be
gained by visiting with an official who has been through the ranks. A good mentor
can teach you the ins and outs of officiating and help you improve much faster than
an official without a good mentor.
If you don't know any officials in your area, go to a game and ask the crew working the game
for some contact information. If you are unable to do this, ask an administrator at your
local high school.
You will need all the proper equipment. Some local associations compile equipment for new officials.
Check with them first. If this isn't an option, check with
Honig's Whistle Stop (official's supplies). This link will take you to the football
starter package. You can expect to spend $200 - $250 to get started.
If you would like more information, click
here and post your questions on the discussion board. There are many officials
there ready and willing to help you get started in officiating.
What NOT to expect as a beginning official.
Don't expect to receive a full schedule your first year. Some states
require an official to work on a chain crew for a year or two before stepping on
the field as an official.
Don't expect to work in the highest classification your first year. Most officials
start at the lower levels and work their way up. Some conferences in Arkansas
require all officials to be of the highest division to work their games.
First year officials aren't eligible to work playoff games. The amount of experience
varies by state and/or association. This typically ranges from 4-10 years and/or a
certain number of varsity games before an official is eligible to work a playoff game.
Don't expect to get rich as a football official. The average pay for a junior varsity game
$45-$70 and the average for a senior varsity game is $65-$100. It is very commonly
quoted that "you don't do it for the money."
What do other officials think?
"The opportunity to stand on the sideline before a game and hear the National Anthem
still gives me goose bumps. To be a part of the great game of Football and work
with tremendous people will always be a thrill. We are the integrity of the game
which brings with it huge responsibility." Walt Coleman, NFL Referee
"Football officiating is a terrific
avocation; it combines doing something that is hard and tremendous fun
at the same time, and most importantly, it leads to life-long
relationships among folks who are "in the arena" every week together."
Rogers Redding, former Southwest Conference and Southeastern Conference referee and
current Southeastern Conference Supervisor of Officials. Mr. Redding is also the author of "Referee's Study
Guide to the NCAA Football Rules."
Over the years the one question I am always asked is how do I get to the Division 1
level. First and foremost you had better be the best official you can be at the
level you are currently working - that means you involve yourself with your local
association - attend meetings, clinics, work all of the games that your work and
family schedule will allow. I have highlighted that last part because that is
extremely important - officiating has to be third on the list after family and work.
If the three can co-exist - great! If not, remember the order of importance. The
beginning official today is afforded so much more information with sites like
Use these sites, get on chat rooms, and ask questions - remembering that there
is no stupid question, just a question no one else had the courage to ask.
Dick Honig, 41 year veteran official (31 of those years at the NCAA Division 1 level).
Mr. Honig is also the owner of
Honig's Whistle Stop (official's supplies). .