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Officiating opened to high schoolers for sub varsity contests

June 16, 2019
From the IHSAA , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Boone, Iowa - In an effort to increase the potential pool of registered officials and better include interested students, the Iowa High School Athletic Association will begin allowing high school students to serve as officials for sub-varsity high school contests in 2019-20.

Current policies allow high schoolers to officiate seventh- and eighth-grade events or sub-varsity soccer matches. The change proposed with the officials' advisory committee and approved Monday by the IHSAA's Board of Control aims to help an active group of young officials gain invaluable experience and education, and allow school administrators to more easily schedule and staff sub-varsity contests.

"The officials' shortage is a nationwide issue that we're seeing up close here in Iowa," IHSAA executive director Alan Beste said. "We have students trying out officiating and wanting more opportunities, and at the same time, their school's administrators and coaches are desperate to find referees for freshmen, sophomore, or junior varsity events.

"These sub-varsity contests should be a learning experience for all involved, and we're excited about the opportunities this could create at the local level."

The student exception for soccer officiating was added when the IHSAA first sanctioned the sport in 1993, with the intention of lifting a low number of soccer officials. However, soccer has added registered officials despite the overall number of IHSAA registered officials

decreasing by 10 percent between 2007-08 and 2017-18.

The advisory committee agreed the sport has benefited by having interested high school students available to assist and member schools have expressed interest in hiring those students. Besides the testing, rules meetings, and clinic attendance required for registered officials, the IHSAA will explore adding educational components for the high school-aged officials.

"This is a great chance to open up officiating for high school-aged officials and for school athletic administrators," IHSAA director of officials Lewie Curtis said.



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