IHSA hoping to see uptick in officials when sports return

When high school sports eventually return, one issue that will remain is officiating or lack thereof.

Illinois has watched its numbers drop over the last few years, but with all of this down time, the IHSA is hoping to reel in a new batch of referees.

The National Federation of High School Associations is offering online education courses through July 1 for free. In just one week, more than 5,200 classes have been taken.

IHSA Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha says the primary focus needs to be on the younger crowd seeing that Illinois officials are getting older, but at a time like this, they will take anyone who is genuinely interested.

"I think there's going to be a lot of people that do take advantage of it," said Troha. "We've had a pretty good reaction on social media from what we saw. Historically, we've sort of seen throughout the years that when the economy is hurting, we tend to get more people who are interested in officiating to help make up for that income. Being able to take advantage of this might just get them a better base level of knowledge coming into it."

If you would like to take any of the 11 courses, you can visit the NFHS Learning Center.