Home|News & Media|Articles


NFL Partners with NFHS to Boost Officiating Participation

August 22, 2023
NFL Partners with NFHS to Boost Officiating Participation
Initiative with NFHS Aims to Increase Participation and Recognition of Game Officials in Youth and High School Football
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 22, 2023) – As part of the ongoing partnership between the National Football League and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), a new initiative to increase participation in and recognition of high school football officials will be piloted with seven NFL clubs during the 2023 football season.
The NFL has identified three major areas of support – recognition, mentorship and campaign support – and the participating clubs will work with surrounding NFHS member state high school associations to fulfill the initiative’s mission.
“The partnership with NFHS has helped us better understand high school football participation trends and been an incredible resource for all 32 clubs,” said Roman Oben, NFL Vice President of Football Development. “We can now promote the officials as well as the athletes on the field.”
The seven NFL clubs participating in this initiative and the states they are representing are the Atlanta Falcons (Alabama/Georgia), Buffalo Bills (New York), Cincinnati Bengals (Ohio), Cleveland Browns (Ohio), Las Vegas Raiders (Nevada/Utah), the New York Giants (New York) and the New York Jets (New Jersey).
In affiliation with respective state associations, the participating NFL clubs will recognize youth and high school officials across their states in the months of September, October and November. Recipients will be highlighted for their demonstration of objectivity, fairness in rules implementation and commitment as high school football officials.
In association with Nike, crews will receive apparel and uniform items to keep them outfitted on the field. Across all participating markets, nine officiating crews each month will be nominated as the crew of the month, with the winner being recognized on NFL Play Football social channels and on the Play Football website.
“The NFHS is honored to work with the NFL to address the issue of officiating recruitment and retention,” said Karissa Niehoff, NFHS Chief Executive Officer. “The desire of the League and the participating clubs to help us recognize, celebrate, train, recruit and retain officials at the high school level is exciting and inspiring, and we look forward to seeing how this initiative grows in the future. We appreciate the NFL and their clubs taking such an interest in high school officials and being such willing partners in developing an initiative that benefits football officials at the grassroots level.”
NFL clubs will work in conjunction with state associations to serve as a host location for a state officials association meeting and recruitment event. The NFL will provide speakers and clinicians from the officiating space to help train, educate and mentor officials at the high school level and prospective officials who attend these educational and recruitment meetings.
Along with education, these meetings will serve as an opportunity for individuals interested in becoming an official to meet those involved in officiating in their community, learn more about officiating roles, the scope of work involved and to connect prospects with current officials in their areas.
To understand the officials outside their on-the-field roles, “Under the Lights” will provide a glimpse into the life of a current high school official. State associations will select an official who demonstrates a commitment to their work, local community and families. The selected officials will share their experiences in youth and high school officiating, while being recognized in the community. For more information on how the officials are awarded, visit PlayFootball.com.
About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.6 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.

Theme picker