How do I start officiating in Colorado Springs?

On this web site, click on “Contact CSFOA” and submit your information and a message.  We will contact you with more information about becoming a Colorado Springs High School Football Official.  Also, spend some time looking through the site.  Our intent is to make the web site a “one stop shop” for information and resources. New officials classes begin the third week of June.  Be sure to look for updated dates, times, and location for the classes.

What is CSFOA’s role in officiating football games in Colorado?

The CSFOA is a chapter of the Colorado Football Officials Association (CFOA) which is sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA).  We “answer” to those parent organizations.

Do I have to become a member of CSFOA to officiate Colorado Springs High School football games?

Yes, although as a high school official you are an “independent contractor,” you must register with and pay dues to CSFOA.

What is Arbiter?

We use to facilitate registration and some of the required annual dues payment. “Arbiter” is the web site we use for our football officiating scheduling, evaluations, voting, contact information, and much more.  You will receive and accept/decline your game assignments on Arbiter.

How will I be paid?

It depends on the school at which you officiate.  A few schools pay cash at the site.  Some schools will take your information and then mail you a check.  Many schools are moving to “Refpay” ( which automatically places payments in your Refpay account which you can then transfer to your bank account for free.  All schools will require you to provide a W-9 and will often have you fill out personal information (at least the first time you officiate at that school) with name, address, phone number, and social security number.

What is the anticipated start up cost?

Football is fairly expensive to start.  CFOA dues are currently $85 per year and CSFOA dues are currently $25 per year.  You can expect to invest about $250-$400 on equipment, including shoes, short- and long-sleeved shirts, pants and shorts, cold weather gear (including a jacket if desired), hats, whistles, flags, bean bags, etc.  (You can find a suggested uniform/gear list under the “New Officials” tab on the CSFOA web site.  It will open as an Excel spread sheet.)  Obviously, some officials purchase more gear (backup flags, whistles, hats, shirts, etc), so the cost will differ.  Most officials will purchase a handful of new items each season. You can expect to recoup your initial equipment investment after officiating eight to ten games.

Where can I buy the uniforms and gear?

There are a few distributors you can use.  All American Sports on 3690 N Academy Blvd has a few items; most officials will go on line to;;; or  Also, at our annual pre-season clinic, one or two distributors will set up a booth with most required uniform items.  Make sure you ask a veteran official for his uniform “lessons learned” over the years.

Can I use some personal items as uniform items?

Obviously, the crew wants to look the same, so most of your gear will be a specialty item purchased from a uniform store/web site.  Black shoes must be entirely black, but they don’t need to match on the crew.  Cold weather gear (black gloves, face guard) doesn’t need to match.  Most crews allow black shorts for sub-varsity games, but they must be all black (many will wear black coach’s shorts or other nicer black shorts with a belt).

How many officials are in the Colorado Springs Football Officials Association?

In 2014, 125 men were in the association.

How is the CSFOA organized and governed?

The CSFOA has 12 board member positions: 8 crew chiefs are elected to annual terms, and 4 other board members (President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Member-at-Large) are elected to 2-year terms.  The CSFOA operates on published bylaws and the Board also institutes policies in other areas.  In April, the eight crew chiefs will conduct a draft to place members on each crew.  Following the new officials clinic classes, the new officials will be drafted to the crews.

What is the purpose of the New Official’s Clinic Class?

To work Colorado High School Football games, you must pass the National Federation of State High School Associations 100 question test with a minimum score of 80%.  We provide 1-1/2 hour classes twice a week to prepare you for the exam.  We do not spend the time discussing officiating philosophy or mechanics (that will come later).  Multiple veterans from CSFOA will lead topic discussions and you will have the opportunity to take practice exams.  The complete new officials class schedule is under the “Calendar” tab on this web site.

What happens after the final new officials class?

Immediately following the final new officials class, you will go into a separate room where the crew chiefs will have the opportunity to ask questions about your background and availability.  You will then be drafted to a crew.  You can expect notification that night or the next day.

How often do the crews meet?

We begin association meetings with the state master clinic at the beginning of August, and will meet every Tuesday night for the first month of the season.  In the second month, we alternate meetings with the entire association and with individual crews (most crews combine for a larger gathering to watch film or discuss plays/situations).

Am I expected to attend all meetings?

No, each member is expected to attend a portion of the meetings.  The Board determines the required number of meetings to maintain “member in good standing.”

Is there a physical fitness requirement?

Officials must complete a 120 yard shuttle run in under 40 seconds

When are most games played?

Varsity games are mostly played on Friday nights at 7:00pm and Saturdays in the afternoon or evening.  A few varsity games are held on Thursday night.  Sub-varsity games are on Monday, (a few Wednesday), and Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings/afternoons.  Most Middle School intramural games are on Tuesday afternoons.  So you could possibly officiate a high school or middle school game any day/evening except Sunday.

When does the season begin and end?

The regular season begins the last week in August and ends the first week in November.

What levels does the Colorado Springs association officiate?

We work 6-man football games; 8-man games; and 11-man games at the 1A through 5A levels.  All varsity games are officiated with a 5 man crew.  CHSAA ( will publish a football bulletin with specific classification information by school.

How many games can I expect to work?

This depends on your availability.  As a rookie official (unless you are a transferring official with varsity experience) you won’t work varsity games in your first season.   With “complete” availability, you can expect to work 20-30 games in August, September, and October.

How many officials work on the field?

Schools will pay for a specific number of officials depending on level:

Intramurals – 2 officials

Junior High/Middle School  – 3 officials (Referee, Linesman, Umpire)

Sub-varsity – 4 officials (R, L, LJ, Umpire)

Varsity – 5 officials (R, L, LJ, U, Back Judge)

Some crews may choose to add a fourth official to Junior High/Middle School games and a fifth official to sub-varsity games and the total fee is then split between the 4 or 5.

Will I work multiple games in a single day?

That will depend on the level and on your availability.  Intramurals typically play two games in an afternoon, with a 1 hour time limit per game (20 minute running halves).  Junior High/Middle School will typically play a 7th grade game (7 min quarters) followed by an 8th grade game (8 min quarters).  You will typically officiate only one High school sub-varsity game in a single day.  An exception may be on a Saturday where you could work a 9:00am sub-varsity game at one location and a 12:00pm or 1:00pm game at another location.

Am I expected to work a certain number of games to maintain “good standing?”

No, you can work as many/few games as you’d like.  However, the more snaps you see, the better you will get.  You will not be able to work “minimal” games and progress as quickly as your peers.

How much will I be paid to work each game?

Middle School Intramural games are typically $80 for two games

Jr High pays $40 per game

Subvarsity (C-Squad and JV) pays $42 per game

Varsity pays $56 per game

Schools will also pay a $2 stipend in the city

How far will I travel to officiate games?

Most games are in the city.  However, we will travel out of the city for some games.  Boundaries include Douglas County to the north, Genoa-Hugo to the east, Fountain-Fort Carson to the south, and Buena Vista to the west.

Will I get on-field practice before the real games begin?

We will hold an on-field new official clinic one Saturday before the season and your crew will also work one or two scrimmages immediately before the season begins.

What crew positions should I expect to work?

As a new official, you will spend most of your first season on the “wing” (Linesman and Line Judge).   You may also work a few games as umpire.  You will probably not work any games as referee or back judge.

Can I watch varsity games?

We invite all new officials to attend the varsity pre-game (1-1/2 hours prior to kick off) and also to walk the sideline behind one of the wing officials (on a non-intrusive basis).  This really helps with personal development.

What can my expectations be for advancement?

This depends on quite a few variables: Your availability (the number of games you are able to work), your fitness, your performance, and the judgment of your crew chief.  The most successful officials spend a lot of time studying the rule book, asking questions of other officials, finding and meeting with an informal mentor, attending varsity games to observe, and volunteering where needed/able.  Most new officials will not work a varsity game for the first 1-3 years.