COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Education has announced that it will now recognize a sports officiating license issued by the Ohio High School Athletic Association as an Industry Recognized Credential, which can be counted as credit toward high school graduation requirements within the health career field.
The announcement reflects the value and significance of the OHSAA’s sports officiating program, providing high school students with a unique opportunity to enhance their education and career prospects. High school students who successfully earn their officiating license through the OHSAA can now count it as four of the 12 required points for certification.
Earning an industry-recognized credential and a WorkKeys score of 14 is one of multiple options to earn a high school diploma. When students earn industry-recognized credentials, schools and districts get credit on Ohio Report Cards for their success in preparing students for careers. Details about Industry Recognized Credentials is posted on the Ohio Department of Education website at: https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Ohio-s-Graduation-Requirements/Contacts-and-Resources/Industry-Recognized-Credentials
“From an Ohio Department of Education perspective, we collectively take pride in supporting efforts that will provide Ohio students an opportunity to earn an industry recognized credential to meet the state’s graduation requirements,” said Scott Hunt, Executive Director of the Ohio Department of Education and an ex-officio member of the OHSAA Board of Directors.
This achievement is the result of a collaborative partnership between the OHSAA, the Ohio Department of Education, and RefReps, a leading sports officiating education technology company based in Indiana. The partnership has already brought state-of-the-art sports officiating curriculum to nearly 60 schools across Ohio, shaping the future of aspiring sports officials statewide.
“The Ohio High School Athletic Association is excited to continue the collaboration between the Ohio Department of Education, RefReps and the OHSAA to provide educational opportunities to students in Ohio,” said Doug Ute, OHSAA Executive Director. “We are proud to be a leader in the nation for establishing standards that lead to industry recognized graduation credentialing in our schools. Gaining workforce experience and classroom credit is a win-win for all involved.”
Kyle Armstrong, RefReps Founder and CEO, said that while many states utilize RefReps online coursework and curriculum, Ohio is the first state that can apply them to graduation credit, allowing for the OHSAA officiating license to be approved as an industry-recognized credential, thanks to the collaboration of the ODE, OHSAA and RefReps.
“At present, RefReps classes are being taught in high schools and colleges/universities across 39 different states. Ohio is the first state we have worked with to achieve this type of milestone for their students, schools and communities,” Armstrong said. “I am very proud of our team’s contributions to this accomplishment, and I cannot thank the OHSAA and ODE enough for their support and commitment to this initiative.”
Adult referees in Ohio have also embraced the RefReps Officiating Education System, which has become an integral part of the general licensure requirement for officiating. Mark Baltz, veteran professional sports official and co-founder of RefReps, emphasized the importance of consistency in training.
“Being consistent is one of the most sought-after qualities of any good sports official,” Baltz said. “Coaches, players and fans all value consistency, and we are excited to bring consistent, standardized training to our partners in Ohio. As a native Buckeye and one who was trained in a similar education-based program over 50 years ago at Ohio University, I have seen officiating training evolve full circle to this platform– with what is now perceived by many educators as the most viable way to properly replenish the depleted officiating pool nationwide.”
RefReps, which is partnered with more than two dozen state high school associations across the country, is also a recognized education collaborator of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Their engaging educational content and extensive video library provide an immersive learning experience for all learners.
Dr. David Pillar, Toronto, Ohio native and Director of Education Advancement and Integration for RefReps, highlighted the significance of well-trained officials in today’s sports culture.
“Games for all sports at all levels are being canceled across the country due to a shortage of properly trained and licensed sports officials,” Pillar said. “Our materials are rooted in four key pillars: academic rigor, promoting physical activity, meeting a need in the community, and providing skills to make learners immediately employable. Being able to use this license toward a graduation requirement is a great recognition of how crucial officials are to the sports culture in Ohio.”
For more information about this exciting opportunity, please visit the “Industry Recognized Credentials” page at education.ohio.gov, the “Become an Official” page at ohsaa.org, and learn more about RefReps at www.refreps.com.
OHSAA Official Press Release
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