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Become an Official

Would you like to stay involved with sports?  Do you want to provide a valuable service?  Would you like to contribute to the education of today's youth? 

Then become a sports official!  Men and women of all ages are needed to officiate at the high school level.  If you love sports, have a "feel" for the game, and a basic grasp of the rules you can be an official.

Officials are a valuable part of high school athletics – you are needed and MSHSL member schools value your services!

Watch to learn and hear more from Officials


Things to know about becoming an official:

Which sports use officials?

Adapted Floor Hockey, Adapted Soccer, Adapted Softball, Baseball, Basketball, Dance Team, Football, Girls Gymnastics, Hockey,  Lacrosse Boys, Lacrosse Girls, Soccer,  Softball Girls, Swimming and Diving, Synchronized Swimming Girls, Track and Field, Volleyball, and Wrestling.

When can I register(pay) and what is the deadline?

Registration is generally open for both the current and upcoming school years.   The payment portal and eligibility (modules, exams, etc.) will remain open until the deadline for each sport.  The deadline to complete these items is the day before the first varsity competitions in that sport.  

What are the Registration Fees for officials?

New officials pay a registration fee of $30 for each sport for the first year.

Returning officials pay a fee of $60.00 for the first sport and $20.00 for each additional sport. These fees continue to be well below most other states.

Returning officials must pay prior to July 1 (for fall activities), September 1 (for winter activities), February 1 (for spring activities) to avoid a $30.00 late fee.  New officials do not have a late fee and can register (pay) up to the deadline for each sport.

What does my Registration Fee include?

Registration fees cover the cost of rule books, case books, pre-season information, testing, rules modules, liability insurance, and supplemental medical insurance. 

What is the Age Requirement to become an official?

You must be 18 years of age or a high school graduate to serve as an MSHSL varsity official. Students (18 and under) are able to register as a student official. They have the same requirements except for the background check, which will be completed once they turn 18.

Do I need to complete a background check?

Background checks will be conducted on officials.  All officials will be required to consent to this process.  Officials will consent to a background check on Arbiter, with the actual check being conducted by PeopleTrail. Select the link for a copy of the background check policy. There is not a separate charge for the background checks as it is part of your registration fee. Background Check Policy

How much do officials get paid?

Official's and judge's pay varies by the sport and the area of the state. Check with an Officials Association or Coordinator in your sport for more information specific to your area. Typically, pay in Minnesota is fairly competitive when compared to other states.

Will training be provided to officials?

Training clinics will be available in Baseball, Basketball, Football, Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Track and Field, Volleyball, and Wrestling at locations throughout the state. 

Attendance at an in-person training clinic is required once every 2 years if you wish to be considered for post-season assignments. 

Many Associations provide training every year that is designed for newer officials and veteran officials.

What are officials required to complete to be "certified/eligible"?

The Minnesota State High School League requires eligibility to officiate varsity contests.  We do not certify or license officials.  If officials complete the requirements, they are "Eligible" to officiate varsity contests in Minnesota.  Requirements vary by Eligibility Tier and Sport.  Officials who wish to officiate regular season assignments typically must complete payment, a concussion module, consent to a background check, general and sport-specific online modules, and pass the exam with a score of 80% or higher.

What uniforms or equipment is needed to officiate?

Uniforms and equipment needed to officiate varies by sport. Most equipment and uniforms can be purchased from General Sports in Edina ( or from various outlets online.  Many outfitters have affordable starter packages for new officials. 

Several sports (volleyball, basketball, wrestling, adapted soccer, adapted floor hockey) have apparel agreements with Smitty Apparel.  Smitty shirts with the MSHSL crest must be worn in these sports. 

Check with an Association member or Coordinator in your sport for more information.

How do I get scheduled for contests/games?

Officials must contract for contests/games with member schools - either directly or through an officials association.  Officials are considered independent contractors.  The Minnesota State High School League does not schedule regular season contests. To be scheduled for games you can either contact schools directly or join a local officials association. All officials are encouraged to join an officials association to receive training, mentorship and assignments that match up with ability.  Officials Associations are groups of officials that cover contests in sports in a specific area of the state or metro area.

Reciprocity Officials-Officials from other States- Information

Officials from other States-Reciprocity Officials

The following policy includes the six states of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota who have developed a reciprocity agreement with MSHSL.  This policy allows an official who lives in one of the above states to be registered/eligible to officiate in a neighboring state. 

The basic requirements of this agreement are:

1. Officials must register with their home state association, contact the state association of the state in which reciprocity is desired and provide a copy of their current registration documents.

2. Each association will send the official whatever material is pertinent to their state, avoiding duplication of rules books, rules examinations or online rules meetings.

3. The reciprocity fee will be $15.00 and will include all sports for which the official is registered in the home state.  The fee is to be paid directly to the state in which reciprocity is requested.

4. Officials must consent to a background check and complete concussion training with the MSHSL.

5. Any individual who officiates a contest in a neighboring state without reciprocity will be subject to consequences as determined by both associations.

6. An individual must be eligible and in good standing with their home state association to receive reciprocity in another state.

7. Note: Reciprocity officials are not eligible for post season contests.

Reciprocity officials should register through Arbiter.

Interested in officiating and want to learn more?