The Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Associate Executive Director Robert A. Lombardi, in conjunction with four other NCAA Division II and III conferences, announced the initiation of the START program at the Pennsylvania State Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (PSAHPERD) annual convention on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008.
START stands for Students of Today are Referees of Tomorrow, with a goal of recruiting new officials in all sports on the collegiate campuses as well as increasing opportunities for scholastic officials to advance to the intercollegiate level.
Member institutions of these conferences will be offering classes to become a registered sports' official with PIAA or their sister association in each member institution's respective state throughout the Middle Atlantic Region.
Working in conjunction with the CAC and the PIAA are the commissioners of the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) along with Division III Centennial Conference (CC), Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) and Middle Atlantic States Collegiate Athletic Corporation (MAC). Representatives from each NCAA conference are listed below.
"START will encourage college students to continue participating in the sport(s) they've played all their lives," said PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray.
"Sports officiating is an honorable avocation and can lead to other opportunities, such as coaching or athletic administration. It's fun, a great resume builder and a nice way to earn a little spending money," added CAC Commissioner, Tom Byrnes.
The initial courses are to be offered during the spring semester at several college campuses.
The pilot program offered by the Capital Athletic Conference will aim to recruit officials for baseball, softball, boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse on the first three Thursdays of February, 2009 (2/5, 2/12 and 2/19).
The three sessions will run approximately 75 minutes, beginning at 6 p.m. in McKay Hall Room 225 at York College of Pa. (Grantley Ave.). Although the program is primarily for students from any college or university, others interested in becoming scholastic, and potentially collegiate, officials are encourage to attend.
At the end of the third meeting, students with proper college ID will be offered the opportunity to take the PIAA officiating test for that sport free of charge. Non-students may take the PIAA test at the regular $30 fee.
Those that pass the test will be assisted in contacting local officiating chapters so they can begin officiating PIAA sanctioned events (and other intramural, youth or recreation league events) as soon as possible.
Other pilot programs are tentatively scheduled to be offered at Franklin & Marshall College (CC), Cabrini College (CSAC), DeSales University (MAC) and Lock Haven University (PSAC).
Capital Athletic Conference, Tom Byrnes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Centennial Conference, Steve Ulrich, email@example.com
Colonial States Athletic Conference, Amy Friedman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Middle Atlantic Conferences, Ken Andrews, email@example.com
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, Steve Murray, SMurray@lhup.edu
PIAA contact: Dr. Robert A. Lombardi, firstname.lastname@example.org