Frequently Asked Questions
New Member FAQs
What does it take to be an official?
It takes many things, including a thorough knowledge of the rules, a love of athletics, kids, and community involvement, self-confidence & courage of conviction, dedication to the necessary hard work, and above all honesty and a high level of integrity.
Who can be a PNBOA official?
Anyone 16 years or older may apply to become a referee. You must provide your own equipment (black & white shirts, shoes, pants, shorts, etc.) and pay annual Association dues of $95 (fees for New Members attending Apprentice training may vary slightly). If you are under the age of 18, you will be required to have permission from a parent or legal guardian to join.
What if I don't have any experience playing basketball?
It helps to have participated in sports if you wish to officiate; however, it is not required. You should learn about the basics of basketball before pursuing an officiating career.
Do your referees pay Association dues and fees?
Each year, PNBOA members pay dues of $95 (first year may vary slightly); $60 goes to the Washington Officials Association (WOA) for operating costs and Insurance, $35 to the PNBOA to help offset the expenses to operate the Association.
PNBOA contracts two Assignors to ensure all our School and Recreation games are appropriately covered and that our leagues are billed. PNBOA charges a 7% assessment fee to officials for all assigments the officials has worked in addition to the annual Association dues.
How does a new official get games?
An official is an Independent Contractor (not an employee) who enters into an agreement with the PNBOA. Our new officials enter our Association as an “Apprentice” and are assigned youth recreation games with experienced officials to begin. Everyone progresses at different rates, but it can sometimes take years to get to the Varsity level. We have approximately 92 officials who work at the Varsity level, and more than 200 officials who work JV and Jr. High/Middle school games. Our 300+ officials work year round to cover game assignments at all levels including school, recreation, and special leagues.
All of our Officials are registered with the Washington Officials Association (WOA), must pass a bi-annual WSP background check, and pass a yearly Rules Test and State Clinic (online). Our officials sign a PNBOA Member Services Agreement (MSA) and must abide by PNBOA rules and policies.
How is the PNBOA managed?
The PNBOA is governed by a Constitution, By-Laws, and Board Policies. An elected Board of Directors serves the membership on a volunteer basis. Committee members are selected by Board Members, approved by the Board to serve on their respective committees.
The PNBOA Board of Directors and Assignors oversee day-to-day operations. Standing committees report to a Chairperson, who serves on the Board of Directors.
What types of memberships does the PNBOA offer?
We have several different levels of membership; Varsity, Registered, Apprentice and College. All members are eligible to work school and recreation games. Officials from all levels work together to cover Junior High, JV, recreation, and traveling league assignments. Members advance via our internal Evaluations system.
Varsity officials are evaluated by paid, Independent Evaluators during the school season. Varsity and College Members are eligible to work High School Varsity game assignments.
Registered officials are evaluated by Varsity officials during the school season. Post-season, Registered officials are ranked and the top 10% are promoted to the Varsity level.
College officials are officials currently working a full Community College, Division I, II or III schedule, and can give only a portion of their time to the High School basketball season. These members are eligible to work Varsity assignments and are used to help mentor and train younger officials, while helping us to cover Varsity game assignments. College officials may also work recreation and non-Varsity school assignments, but are not included in the Evaluations system and are not eligible for post-season playoff assignments.
Apprentice officials are new to officiating basketball, and are required to complete a training course. Advancement occurs at individual rates based on the official’s skill and ability, desire for improvement, availability to work games and through our structured Evaluations process.
I'm ready to join. What's the next step?
Check out our
Join page. Training classes for new officials (Apprentices) are held frequently. A non-refundable training fee is due prior to participating in the training class.
Apprentice training sessions are offerred at various location in King County. We typically offer two-hour sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. New Apprentices attend two sessions per week, for five weeks. Each individual training session is designed to gradually provide you the necessary rules knowledge, mechanics and court sense needed to begin officiating games. Once the training class is completed, if the student demonstrated sufficient ability to perform the functions of properly officiating, a contract will be offered to the student. Participation in the training class is not a guarantee of receiving a contract.
Are referees in Washington State Independent Contractors or employees?
The Officials (or Referees) who work game assignments for PNBOA are not employees, they are Indpendent Contractors and must accept and abide by the PNBOA Member Services Agreement (MSA) prior to receiving game assignments. The number of game assignments, levels assigned and days/dates/times are not guaranteed.
Can I just work "Recreation" basketball?
Yes. As an Independent Contractor, you control your availability to work games. If you do not wish to work School basketball, you will not be evaluated during the school season, and thus are not eligible for any type of advancement. However, you still must pay full dues of $130, even if you only work recreation basketball, and you will still be registered with the Washington Officials Association.
Transfer Referee FAQs
What do I need to do to transfer to the PNBOA from another state-recognized association?
1. Contact the
Membership Chairperson for a Transfer Application, complete and return. Upon verification and approval of your application, you will have to pay the first year annual dues of $130 before being granted access to the assigning system to provide availability. You will be instructed where to send the funds at that time. Subsequent years' dues will be pre-paid by auto-deduction from the current years' High School Season paycheck (paid on April 25th).
2. Contact your prior/current Assignor and request they submit a letter of confirmation/recommendation to the Membership Chairperson, via email, that includes the following information: a) your level of experience of games officiated in current or previous season, b) you were a Member in Good Standing, and c) any additional relevant information for recommendation.
3. For officials with at least 2 (two) years prior Varsity level experience, you may apply for our “Transfer Tryout” process, which occurs in the Fall each year. There is a $50 non-refundable fee to participate in thes process, which provides you the opportunity to officiate at least one game in one of our Fall Leagues, at which you will be observed and scored by a minimum of 3 (three) of our Paid Evaluators, as well as one or more of our Board of Directors. If you scores meet the requirement as defined in our Evaluations Manual, you will then eligible to be placed directly onto our Varsity list.
4. For officials without prior Varsity level experience, you will be placed accordingly on the Registered or Apprentice list based on your experience and following the approval of the Board of Directors.
I am a College official, do I have to go through the Transfer Tryout process?
The PNBOA values the experience and knowledge of officials working College schedules. We also want to continue to involve our past Members who are not currently able to work a full PNBOA schedule due to their college commitments.
If you are actively working a full Community College, Div-I, Div-II, or Div-III schedule, you may enter our Association as a “College” official. Our “College” Officials work a limited Varsity schedule, to assist with mentoring and furthering our Varsity foundation. This type of membership does not allow the Official to work Post-Season Playoff, State, or tournament assignments. They are not included in our Evaluations process, therefore are not evaluated, ranked or included as part of our 100-member Varsity list.
Some of our College Members, or Members in transition to a full college schedule, choose to pay full dues and remain full-time Members of the PNBOA, which would make you eligible to be ranked on the Varsity List and work Post-Season, State and tournament assignments.
Returning Member FAQs
I am a former PNBOA Member, how do I get re-instated back into the Association?
Former Members may be eligible for re-instatement by approval of the Board of Directors. Please contact the
If you are a former member, you will still need to request and complete an application and submit it to the Membership chairperson. Upon approval, you will have to pay the $130 annual dues before being granted access to the assigning system to provide availability to work. You will be instructed where to send the funds at that time.