When thinking about intramural and club sports, increasing student participation tends to be top of mind. However, getting students enlisted in teams is not the only way to increase involvement. Officiating is another great option, and it is one that has life-long benefits.
The University of Central Florida runs one of the preeminent sports officiating development programs in the country. In fact, many current and former UCF students have seen tremendous success as sport officials on the regional, national and collegiate levels. Nine officials from the program were selected to officiate in National Tournaments this past year, six officials were selected to officiate in the NCS National Flag Football Tournament and three former students from the program are now referees in the NBA.
Steven Anderson and Brent Barnaky, who are currently NBA referees, highlight their experience with the UCF officiating program.
How did you get involved with the officiating program at the university?
Brent: At the time, I had recently completed playing collegiately and wanted to stay involved with the game. Some college officials approached me and inquired if I would be interested in officiating. At the time, I was actively involved in coaching at some level, but once I stepped onto the court as an official, it was competition all over again, but from an officiating perspective — managing the game and getting as many plays called correctly as possible.
Steven: I started officiating intramural sports at UCF in the fall of 2000. From flag football to dodgeball, I officiated just about every sport the program had to offer. My freshman year, I missed out on taking the UCF class because I missed the deadline, but as an intramural sports supervisor, I was able to be there when they held the classes on Tuesday nights. The following fall of 2001, I made sure I was signed up early and was able to participate.
What were some of the biggest benefits in participating in the program?
Brent: It was an awesome introduction to the core fundamentals of officiating basketball as well as learning how to review and critique yourself objectively through post game videotape review.
Steven: The biggest benefit to participation in the class was learning from the instructors and guest speakers. The instructors were all very passionate about officiating, teaching younger and less experienced officials and always cared about the students and wanted them to get better each week.
How did the program prepare you for your current role?
Brent: I still today rely on many of the core fundamentals that I learned from my involvement in the program. For example; referee the defense, trust your partners, don’t guess, referee in your primary, mentoring other officials and videotape analysis and review.
Steven: It has helped me prepare because all the instructors had something valuable to contribute to the classes. Not only on the court instruction, but one of the most important things, which is how you handle yourself professionally off the court. They always said you can get yourself into more trouble off the court by not handling yourself professionally at all times because you never know who is watching.