Nationally known sports officials, officiating leaders and other key stakeholders are committing to speak at the 2020 NASO Sports Officiating Summit, which will be held July 26-28 in Montgomery, Ala.

With numerous significant sessions in the works, this year’s Summit, with the theme “Good Sports, Bad Sports, Better Sports Through Officiating” will, in the words of NASO President Barry Mano, “bring unique focus on the skill set that sports officials need to effectively ensure that sporting contests remain fair, safe and competitive according to rule. That is becoming a taller and taller order for all of us in officiating.

“The theme for the 2020 Summit centers on how officials themselves can make sports better — better in the sense of displaying and reinforcing the values that we as a society hold in a place of honor. … The Montgomery Summit will bring many of the best and brightest onto the stage, sharing perceptions and practical advice about how we can do superlative work under more demanding conditions. And of course, we will be celebrating officiating and recognizing individuals who have contributed so much to this industry.”

One of the innovative and informative sessions on tap for the opening night of the Summit on July 26 is “Why Officiating Matters More than Ever.” Greg Sankey, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, will open the 2020 Summit with his perspective on the key role officiating plays in organized sports at all levels, not just the Power 5 conferences. Sankey will share his thoughts on the demands being made of officials, their ability to fulfill those demands, the requirements of accountability and the need for more open communication about officiating.

Other sessions scheduled for the 2020 Summit include:

Sports Is Life With the Volume Turned Up

Can you “C” the light? Officials are now being asked to do what most others in positions of authority are loathed to do: know what the rules actually require and then to enforce them impartially. That takes Character, Commitment, Courage.

Work Through the Noise

Officials are trained from day one to block out noise. Back in the day, that noise pretty much came from within the contest itself. Not so today: the harping from social media; the carping from unsporting behaviors; the snarking from fans in the stands … these are stark reality and equipping officials to handle the onslaught is the order of today.

Workshops: The Sportsmanship Puzzle

Twelve workshops will be held with participation by attendees, addressing sportsmanship and the challenges faced by officials in their own efforts to make sports better.

A Bad Bet

An expert presentation presenting a perspective that at first is disquieting but then key to understanding the intersection between gambling and sports officiating.

Yes, You Do Make the Call!

An array of plays on the huge screen and you get to vote on the ruling. Let your clicker be your guide.

Breakdown Your Sport (Mini-Clinics)

Video breakdown sessions to immerse you in the subject, run by renowned officials of various sports.

Data Points

NASO’s historic survey of two years ago was answered by 17,478 officials — more than 6,000,000 data points! Our industry is beginning to develop its research base and this session presents the latest data points and statistical interpretations available.

Critical Issues in Officiating — A Legal Perspective

The need for legal perspective in officiating has never been greater. This session is guaranteed to over deliver on the promise of providing a legal perspective on the critical issues being faced today in officiating.
Better Sports Through Officiating — This is the Summit’s Sportsmanship “show and tell” session and you won’t want to miss it! Time to see, hear, feel programs and initiatives that have actually made a difference in how the games are played, watched, reported on and officiated.

High School Replay: Upon Further Review

With experience under its belt, the Alabama High School Athletic Association reports out on the adoption, creation, implementation and evolution of its replay system. This session will include a spirited debate about replay and high school sports.


It’s NASO’s version of “Ted Talks.” Come hear some of the industry’s finest riff on their experiences and the issues facing the officiating industry.
In addition to these sessions, annual staples like the Officiating Industry Luncheon, Game Changers and Working Lunch Breakouts will be included in Summit activities.