It’s no secret that there is a shortage of high school sports officials in the state of Illinois.

The highest percentage of officials in most sports are in their 50s or 60s and there are not enough officials signing up and staying with it to replace the older officials who will be stepping aside in the not too distant future.

Local officials and IVCC decided to do something about it.

Veteran area official Larry Laio contacted IVCC officials about the shortage in the state.

That conversation led to IVCC putting together a Sports Officiating class that will be offered this fall.

“This is something the college did years ago so we had a starting point,” said Jennifer Scheri, who is the director of continuing education and business services at IVCC. ‘We went back to see what we offered in the past. In addition we worked with local officials — Jim Knauf, Larry Laio and Dale Tieman — and reached out to the IHSA to make sure we had the latest curriculum and knew exactly how and when they tested. We can offer a course, but eventually they have to pass the IHSA exam. We wanted to make sure we were on target and teaching what needed to be learned to pass the exam.”

IVCC hired former St. Bede athletic director, coach and veteran official Bernie Moore to teach the class.

“Bernie will be the lead instructor,” said Scheri, who added Cathy Buck, the program manager in the continuing education center, played a key role in developing the class. “We asked (Moore) to review the curriculum and finalize the course content.”

The class will include five sessions covering fundamentals of officiating — officials philosophy, psychology of officiating, personal fitness for officials, managing professional responsibilities and the profession of officiating.

After the initial five sessions, there will be five sport specific classes in football, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball. Students can take one or all five of the sport specific classes.

Tuition for the class is $89. After completing the class, students must take the IHSA licensing exam in their sport(s). Cost of the exam is $70. However, students can register at a discounted rate of $35.

The class is 6-8 p.m. Sept. 18, Sept. 25 and Oct. 2 and 9-11 a.m. Sept. 21 and Sept. 28.

The sport specific classes are as follows:

Football (9-11 a.m. Oct. 5), basketball (6-8 p.m. Oct. 9), volleyball (9-11 a.m. Oct. 12), baseball (9-11 a.m. Oct. 19) and softball (6-8 p.m. Nov. 20).

Registration for the class is now open.

Students can register by calling (815), 224-0447, online at www.ivcc.edu/onlinecec or in person at IVCC Admissions and Records, Room CTC-101.

Scheri said the officiating class is in line with the continuing education program’s goals.

“In continuing education, we provide a variety of courses for professional and personal development of the community,” Scheri said. “We felt this was very much in line with our mission to serve the community. We’ll market it to college students who might be looking for a part-time job as they work through college and to community members who are looking to develop skills in this area.”

For more information about the officiating course, contact Cathy Buck at (815) 224-0490 or at cathy_buck@ivcc.edu.

Kevin Chlum is the NewsTribune Sports Editor. He can be reached at 220-6939, or at sports@newstrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.

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