With scores of applications piled onto the boss’s desk, one would think hiring someone for the job is not going to be a problem. But this is not just any job, like an office assistant or a waiter; these are applications to become an intramural sports referee.
Rhonda Dubord, associate director of the Department of Wellness and Recreation, looks for UM students who can act as unbiased referee officials in intramural games among their own peers.
“Being an official is a great experience that you can’t get in the classroom,” DuBord said. “Besides the leadership, management, and public speaking skills, there is definitely an ethical aspect to it, especially if they’re friends.”
Senior Joey Held officiates in intramural flag football, basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer and whiffleball.
“It is a little bit challenging officiating my peers because sometimes an athlete thinks that because I know them I will give them the benefit of the doubt,” said Held. “And every official has gotten yelled at too. It comes with the territory.”
The referees are encouraged to remain unbiased throughout the entire game to the best of their ability.
Tom Soria, assistant director of intramurals and special events, urges the officials to try to separate themselves from the game so they can be as fair and consistent as possible.
“They are officiating their peers and they have to be able to take the heat for a bad call,” said Soria. “We all make mistakes.”
The students donning the black and white pinstripes have a tough task at hand. They do not relax and enjoy the games. They must pay attention and know all of the rules and regulations.
Currently, 37 intramurals referees have been hired, and the Wellness Center is seeking more. They begin with an hourly wage of $8.11, which increases each year they work as a referee. Furthermore, that wage can be even further increased if the official attains any certification or if a supervisor position is attained.
“A lot of times we channel kids into programs outside of the university where they can really make good money,” DuBord said.
Beyond the benefits of meeting new people, learning more about sports, staying active, and earning a little bit of extra money, the intramural officiating program has an ‘Official of the Week’ award for the most outstanding referee per week. Additionally, there is a Facebook fan page for intramural sports, which has pictures and videos from the games and events.