Frequently Asked Questions | Officials | IHSA

Frequently Asked Questions


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Q. I would like to become an official. What should I do?
A. To obtain an official’s license with the IHSA you should start by filling out the online application.

Q. How long does it take to become a licensed official?
A. If you pay with a credit card, you will be licensed immediately, but you will be on probation until you have passed the online Part I exam (80% or higher), viewed the online rules interpretation presentation, passed concussion exam, and attended a clinic.  Exam and rules presentation starting dates and deadlines are listed on the Officials Calendar. You will also have to pass a criminal background check.

Q. I am licensed in one sport and would like to add another. How do I go about adding a sport, and how long does it take?
A. Log in to the Officials Center and go to the licensing center, where you will be able to add a sport immediately. You will be on probation in that sport until you pass the online Part I exam, view the online rules interpretation presentation, and attend a clinic.

Q.  If I applied to be an official, but now am unable to officiate, how can I get a refund?
A.  As stated in our Officials Handbook (page 12),  application fees are non-refundable


Q. Do I have to renew my membership every year? If so, what is the cost?
A. An IHSA Officials License expires every June 30, regardless of when it became effective. An official must renew his/her license each year before the June 30th expiration. To renew a license, the cost is $70 online for the first sport, $20 for second sport, and $15 for each additional sport. If you pay by check, there is a $10 processing fee added to your total, which must be sent in with your online renewal form.  Any official who renews after June 30th will have to pay a $30 late fee.

Q. When do renewal notices go out?
A. A renewal notice will be posted on the IHSA Officials Center yearly at the beginning of March. Nothing will be mailed to the officials. The online renewal period starts May 1.


Q. Is it mandatory to view the online rules presentation every year?
A. Yes. You must view the online rules presentation every year in every sport that you are licensed in. The penalty for not viewing is probation or suspension of your license.

Q. Is it mandatory to take the rules exam every year?
A. Yes. You must take the online Part I exam, and pass with an 80% or better, every year for every sport in which you are licensed in. Should you fail or miss the deadline, you may pay a $15 fee to retake/take the exam. There is no limit on how many times you would like to retake your exam, but you will have to pay the $15 fee each time. If you do not complete and pass the exam by the time the sport is in completion of the year, the penalty is probation or suspension.

Q. When will I receive my rules and case book?
A. The rules and case books will be sent out before each season starts – Fall sports. July; Winter sports. October; Spring sports. February. We do have a yearly rotation for rules books. Please check the schedule in the Officials Calendar.

Q. I have lost or misplaced my rules and case book. How can I get another?
A. You may purchase a book for $7 online at or you can purchase an electronic version through the NFHS App.

Q. I attended a rules interpretation meeting out of state. How can I get credit in Illinois?
A. You must view the IHSA online rules interpretation meeting to get credit. No out of state meetings will be accepted.

Q. I submitted a rules exam in another state. Can I get credit in Illinois?
A. No, you must take the Illinois online rules exam. Failure to do so will result in probation or suspension.

Q. May I get credit for attending a clinic in another state? What about another governing body’s clinic (e.g., USA Volleyball)?
A. No. You must attend an IHSA Certified Clinic conducted by an IHSA Certified Clinician in order to receive credit for this requirement.

Q. May an official be active in one sport, and inactive in another?
A. Yes, but there are no cost savings associated with this scenario. You will have to pay a yearly $15 fee for each sport you choose to be inactive in.

Q. Once I become licensed, how do I get assigned games? 
A. IHSA licensed officials are considered independent contractors and not employees of the IHSA or member institutions. As independent contractors, the official is entitled to remuneration services rendered, but has no entitlements which may be available to an employee of the IHSA or member institutions. The IHSA does not assign officials except to state series contests. To find an assignor in your area, you will need to either contact the local high school Athletic Director or local IHSA recognized officials association.  This is where you will find out if schools need more officials. Please check our website for the list of IHSA recognized officials associations.

Q. Are fall baseball and softball coaches required to submit ratings on officials used for fall contests?
A. No. The requirement is only for the season in which the state series is conducted in.


Q. Does the Illinois have a Reciprocity Official Licensing program?
A. IHSA has a Reciprocity Official Licensing program for boardering states including: Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Tennessee. More details can be found in the Official Handbook pg. 13-14


Q. I often see officials working that are not in proper IHSA uniform (including lack of patches). What, if anything, can be done?
A. The IHSA encourages you to complete and submit a Special Report Form, which is located in the Officials Center, to report an official working without the proper uniform and patches. The only way to correct the problem is to report it.

Q. I have paid my yearly fee to get my officials license. When do I receive patches?
A. Each new official in a sport will get one patch sent out with their rules book. Current officials will not be sent any patches with their rules book. Our licensed officals merchandise vendors will embroider the IHSA Officials Logo on the uniform upon request at the time of purchase.

Q. Since it is mandatory that I wear my officials patch, I need more. How can I get extra patches for my extra uniforms?
A. The cost of a patch is $1 per patch. Send the IHSA your name, address, ID number, and the number of patches you desire, along with your proper payment.