If you’re on top of the officiating industry, you’ll recognize the following statistic. If you don’t follow stories and trends about sports officials through NASO and Referee, then this stat may come as a surprise to you and be all the more reason you should attend the NASO Sports Officiating Summit in Spokane, Wash., this July: 70 percent of sports officials do not come back for their third year.
Let that sink in for a minute or two. Everything that official has invested to don the stripes — financial, emotional and physical — is lost. The official loses out on a possible long-term enjoyable avocation. Associations lose a potential resource.
We like to talk about win-wins in the world. This situation is the exact opposite: lose-lose. NASO looks to correct that in a session at this year’s Summit on Tuesday, July 30, titled, “The First Three Years.”
The title arose due to the drain on officials after their second year. NASO is looking to reduce the number of officials exiting after their second year.
But first we must find out why they’re leaving. Then determine steps to stem the flow.
That’s where “The First Three Years” session comes in. In our panel, still under development, we plan to bring several young officials to the session and have them discuss what made them consider taking up officiating and what challenges they face. When we say young, we’re talking about under the age of 20. We want to bring the audience a taste of what it’s like starting out in officiating at a young age and the newer challenges today.
That dovetails with our theme, “Training in Transition,” which examines how training has changed over the past 3-5 years. Constant video, social media, fan harassment are all intensifying in the sports arena. Are we preparing our young officials for these challenges? What should be fair expectations for officials starting out and the assigners/associations preparing them for the field or court?
Officiating has never been easy. But in today’s social media-saturated environment, where the loudest voice gets the attention, how does that affect the next generation of officials? We hear about millennials not joining the officiating field. Is fan behavior the biggest issue? Or are the tests not appropriate? Is training lacking or not applicable to the skills of incoming classes?
This panel will address these issues and more in a provocative environment designed to help your association better prepare the next generation of sports officials to succeed. You’ll hear about what works and what needs to change when it comes to training, mentoring, testing. You’ll get firsthand views from leaders in the industry as well what they are doing to respond to these challenges.
Expensive uniforms, onerous meeting requirements, old-school delivery mechanisms, dated instructors, out-of-touch materials for a mobile world … the list goes on in terms of challenges. What needs to change?
Join us at the Summit to find out. This is one of the most unique sessions we’ve ever brought before attendees, reaching out to youth to hear what makes sense for them to make decisions regarding joining the officiating ranks and staying with it. Let’s listen, learn and bring back lessons to your hometown association.
To sign up to attend the NASO Summit, go to sportsofficiatingsummit.com.