Lubbock ISD will soon be offering students a course in sports officiating

The course will be an elective and will be offered starting Fall 2024
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 4:13 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:27 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock ISD will now offer a new course to give students real-world experience both in and out of the classroom and onto a field or court. The new course could filter students in to a profession that is experiencing a major shortage. The national federation of state high school associations believes about 50,000 officials have left the job since the 2018-2019 season, that number continued to rise after the pandemic.

“We’ve been told that the average age for officials right now is 45 plus and so were looking at getting some younger people in as these guys that have been doing it for years start retiring” LISD Assistant Athletic Director Jolee Luce said.

Lubbock ISD found a way to bridge that gap, last week the school board approved a new innovative course for its students, it will teach them the rules and regulations of being a sports official.

“Start training high school kids so they can get some knowledge as they’re going through school, so they’re prepared to step in and fill some of those roles,” Luce said.

The students will learn decision making skills, conflict management, how to work with coaches, players, and how to communicate with fans, which local sports official, Oscar Shorten said, is the biggest obstacle.

“We have kids that come in and they start and they say ‘this is tough’ if they get in here and they learn how to listen and communicate, they can accomplish and achieve anything they want to,” local sports official Oscar Shorten said.

The students will also create a personal fitness plan and will even get to referee different games. Then, students will be ready to blow a whistle and get paid for it.

“It’s an opportunity to have a financial impact for them positively but also that connection to their community and their school and help out in high school sports” Luce said.

The course will be an elective and offered starting in Fall 2024.