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New License Cateogry (Provisional License)

The IHSA Board of Directors has approved the development of a new pathway for high school aged students to enter the officiating ranks.  15- and 16-year-olds may now register as officials with the IHSA under a ‘Provisional License’.

Effective January 9, 2023, 15 and 16-year-olds can register to obtain a Provision License through the IHSA website.  Students who successfully complete an officiating course prior to registering can license for $10, while students who have not completed an officiating course can do so for $20.  A benefit of this new program is that students who obtain provisional licenses can renew their license for that same fee through the age of 20.  When registering, students will be asked to identify whether or not they have completed an officiating training course prior to registering.  A course could be offered by a member school, a local officiating association, or an online training provider.  RefReps is one such online training provider, and member schools will be able to learn more about their offerings through a series of webinars to be held in January or by visiting the RefReps website at

Upon registering, students will need to complete the Part 1 exam for any sport in which they are attempting to license and complete the state-required concussion training program.  Students obtaining provisional licenses will not be subject to a background check until they would register for a full license at age 17, which is the current licensing practice.

Students with a Provisional License can work contests at any level or age-group below high school but are subject to any guidelines established by such an organization.  Students with a Provisional License can work 9th grade level contests in the sport he/she/they are licensed, provided the student is working with a fully-licensed IHSA Official.  Students with a Provisional License are not allowed to work any high school contest beyond the 9th grade level.

The aim of this new licensing level is to encourage new populations to enter the officiating community, which has seen a drop in numbers nationally over the past decade.  The hope is that by offering young people an extremely cost friendly path into officiating and connecting them with local officials’ associations, young people will have a more successful entry into a lengthy officiating career.

Individuals with questions can contact Kurt Gibson at the IHSA Office.



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Officially Human


The IHSA is proud to partner with Officially Human in our joint mission to help elevate respect towards officials. Learn more about Officially Human here



RefReps is a great tool for individuals who are interested in becoming officials and want to get professional training geared toward first-time officials. Learn more here

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