Join the fun! Become a WVO football official!
The one thing we can never have enough of are qualified football officials willing to work all levels of the game. It's a challenging but very rewarding avocation. You meet new people, take part in the excitement of the game, stay physically active, give back to the young athletes who play and the schools and leagues that sponsor them, and get a little bit of compensation for your efforts. Once you dip your toes into the officiating water, you'll find that it's hard to stay out of the pool. Officiating is a fulfilling experience. And if you'd someday like to officiate college football or the NFL, you have to start at the high school level. Why not give it a try?
To get started becoming a football official in Ohio and West Virginia, the two states we serve, you must complete a state-certified training course. Each July the West Virginia-Ohio Board of Approved Football Officials offers a six-week class that covers the requirements for both states. Your first step is signing up for that class through the Ohio High School Athletic Association website. You first register as a user in the myohsaa.org system on the OHSAA site. Then you choose the local WVO training class, register for it, pay the required $65 fee (the minimum amount the state allows us to charge), and get ready to attend the classes. Starting in mid-July, we meet on Monday and Thursday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. at Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, OH. The class concludes the third week of August, making you eligible to officiate below-varsity games just in time for the season to begin. In addition to classroom time, we'll work with you on the field to teach you the mechanics of officiating a game (positioning, signals, communication, etc.), and we'll also show you some tips for handling the physical aspect of officiating.
Both Ohio and West Virginia require that you spend your first two years as an official working below-varsity assignments only before you are eligible for the traditional Friday night varsity games. Once you get on the field and see what it's like trying to manage 22 young bodies flying around and colliding into each other at high speed while you also try to coordinate your coverage with your three or four partner officials, you'll see why this two-year apprenticeship has its merits.
Once you reach your third year, you may have the opportunity to work varsity assignments. You may be asked to join one of the standing five-person crews in our local board or through another board, or you may work as an "extra" on other crews or on a
developmental crew in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference as assigned by its football supervisor. Not to worry about that, though. Your WVO training class coordinators will help you in your development and make certain that the OVAC assigner and other crews are aware of your availability.
A typical question for prospective officials involves costs and compensation. Besides the $65 registration fee for the class, you will also pay a smaller fee for membership in the WVO (the fee has ranged from $25-$35 in recent years), and you will pay to register as a West Virginia official ($45). In addition, you will need to invest in basic officiating equipment. Both our local store in Pittsburgh and online outlets offer starter packages to alleviate those costs, but you can expect to spend $150 to $200 there for a full package. Now the good news. You get paid to officiate the games! You'll find that your initial investment will likely be covered by the game fees you receive as an official in your first year. And after you buy the equipment once, you don't have to expect to spend much, if any, on the uniforms and equipment each year. Those game fees range from $40-$60 for typical below-varsity assignments. Varsity officials are paid $80 per assignment in the OVAC.
So those are the questions typical of new officials. Let's get you started on this new adventure!