Discussion Board

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 split-second decisions.

  • 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, or raining.
  • 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 Supervisor of Officials. Mr. Redding is the current CFO National Coordinator of Officials."

    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 Refstripes.com. 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).


    Click on your state to link to the state association.
    Alabama   Alaska   Arizona   Arkansas   California   Colorado   Connecticut   Delaware  
    District of Columbia   Florida   Georgia   Hawaii   Idaho   Illinois   Indiana   Iowa   Kansas  
    Kentucky   Louisiana   Maine   Maryland   Massachusetts   Michigan   Minnesota   Mississippi  
    Missouri   Montana    North Carolina   North Dakota   Nebraska   Nevada   New Mexico  
    New Hampshire   New Jersey   New York   Ohio   Oklahoma   Oregon   Pennsylvania  
    Rhode Island   South Carolina   South Dakota   Tennessee   Texas   Utah   Vermont   Virginia  
    Washington   West Virginia   Wisconsin   Wyoming  

    If you are from the UK, you can click on the link below to get started.
    United Kingdom