by: John Van de Vaarst National Clinician
As a new year begins, it is a good idea to take some time and review what the NISOA dues are used for and what benefits a member receives with their dues. The article will focus on major benefits and not deal with assignments. Assignors are independent contractors and retain the right to assign who they feel is best for the game. NISOA as an organization does not have control over how an assignor conducts their business. Chapter assignors may have certain boundaries the chapter establishes and must follow those protocols. Here are a few of the benefits NISOA members receive:
- Registration with ArbiterSports.
- The newest and critical benefit that a member receives through their dues is that they are registered in the NCAA Arbitersports system. The NCAA requires that any official who desires to work post season must register with the NCAA through the Arbitersports system. The cost for division I is $100. NISOA leadership worked directly with the NCAA and negotiated a much lower rate for all NISOA registered members. Every member of NISOA is registered with the NCAA without an increase to NISOA dues. Members can log on and take the necessary tests, etc. for post season eligibility.
- Liability Insurance
- All NISOA members are entitled to liability insurance for their intercollegiate officiating activities. This is a $1 million policy that covers the member on any intercollegiate game they officiate. The only time the insurance would not be in effect is if the member worked the game with a non-registered NISOA person. It is further noted that a game played between an intercollegiate team and an amateur or professional team is not covered by the policy. If anyone has questions on insurance they should go to their chapter officers who can raise the question with the National office. All questions are answered in a timely manner.
- Education and Training
- NISOA conducts a variety of training programs on an annual basis. The Elizabethtown residential Training Academy is a four day in-depth program that includes classroom instruction, physical fitness, nutritional programs, on field practicum and observations during game situations. The staff assigned to the Academy are all volunteers and are most willing to work with the participants, respond to questions and spend non-classroom time with the campers. This is a great opportunity for newer officials to develop skills, learn from highly experienced NISOA National Clinicians, and have the opportunity to be seen and evaluated during game situations.
- Each year NISOA works with chapters to conduct regional clinics throughout the country. Several chapters or conferences host the clinic and NISOA provides National Clinicians to do the training. These clinics vary in format and length to meet the individual needs. At some clinics there are also scrimmage games so officials can be observed. During these sessions, National and Regional Assessors also have the opportunity to recertify.
- Local training is key to the success of any program. NISOA offers local clinician and local assessor workshops. These one day sessions provide the basic tools to become a clinician or assessor. The only requirement for a clinic is for the local chapter to request it and have at least five participants who are willing to meet the requirements of the programs. NISOA also provides training material to the chapters for presentation during their in-season clinics. These materials can be formal presentations, video clips on particular plays or mini sessions on a particular topic. The chapter only needs to request what they need to the National Director of Instruction.
- The NISOA web site hosts a variety of information. Monthly articles on the intercollegiate game, the interscholastic game and basis refereeing skills (nuts and bolts) are posted monthly. There are video training clips available and the NCAA Secretary Rules Editor responds to rule questions that are posted. In addition to instruction the web site has forms, documents, information about the national officers, NISOA Newsletters and more. The web site continues to grow and be improved for the membership.
- The National Referee Academy is now on an annual cycle. This one day workshop allows for certification and recertification of National NISOA Referees. There are approximately 325 individuals in the program. This advanced training focuses on play situations, video clips of games, people management, game control, ethics, etc. The one day is very condensed and raises the level of officiating skills for those participating. NISOA is working with the NCAA, NAIA, NCCAA, and the NJCAA to provide priority post season assignments for National Referees.
The above items that NISOA does with the dues are but a few examples of the many programs. Since all officers, program directors and clinicians are volunteers, NISOA can provide many benefits with a limited amount of dues charged to the membership. For detailed information about any program please contact the National Office.