Policies Regarding Officials

Game officials shall be agreed upon by both schools.

High school officials must be registered and approved by the IGHSAU. In the event any of the officials are not present, the game may be played with one registered official by mutual agreement. (EXCEPTION non-varsity volleyball may use one registered official per court. When only one official is used, that official must be registered and shall be the referee.) Any competition involving junior high students must have at least one registered official.

The executive director shall be allowed to temporarily suspend officials, pending a hearing by the Board of Directors, who are guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct at athletic contests, who fail to observe professional officiating ethics or who fail to file requested reports with the general office.

A school may drop an official from a game after he/she has been engaged. If a school decides that it is necessary to break its agreement with an official, it may be done by paying the official the regular fee for the game. Cancelled and postponed games do not come under the above provision, provided the official is duly notified. In the case of postponed games, the officials that were originally employed must be given the opportunity to work on the new date.

A school associated with breaking a contract with an official is relieved of responsibility for paying the normal fee to the official in the event the official contracts for a game on the same date with any other member school.

Officials Code of Ethics

The Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s Board of Directors has officially adopted the following Code of Ethics for high school athletic officials.

  • Officials at an interscholastic athletic event are participants in the educational development of high school students. As such, they must exercise a high level of self-discipline, independence and responsibility. The purpose of this Code is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all interscholastic officials.
  • Officials shall master both the rules of the game and the mechanics necessary to enforce the rules, and shall exercise authority in an impartial, consistent and controlled manner.
  • Officials shall work with each other and their state associations in a constructive and cooperative manner.
  • Officials shall uphold the honor and dignity of the profession in all interaction with student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, school administrators, colleagues and the public.
  • Officials shall prepare themselves both physically and mentally, shall dress neatly and appropriately, and shall conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the standards of the profession.
  • Officials shall be punctual and professional in the fulfillment of all contractual obligations.
  • Officials shall remain mindful that their conduct influences the respect that student-athletes, coaches and the public hold for the profession.
  • Officials shall, while enforcing the rules of play, remain aware of the inherent risk of injury that competition poses to student-athletes and themselves and shall notify the event manager of any condition that might not be conducive regarding participation.
  • Officials shall be cognizant of adverse conditions (including weather) that might arise during the competition and react appropriately to ensure the safety and welfare of all participants.
  • Officials shall not be party to actions designed to unfairly limit or restrain access to officiating, officiating assignments, or to local association membership. This includes selection for positions of leadership based upon economic factors, race, creed, color, age, sex, physical handicap, country or national origin.

The IHSAA and IGHSAU serve as a licensing agency for Iowa junior and senior high school athletic officials. Officials are registered as independent contractors with both entities. This Code of Ethics relates to the license status of each official registered with the IHSAA and/or the IGHSAU.

Failure to comply with any of the above items may result in probation, suspension or loss of license for the official. Any sanction issued by the Iowa High School Athletic Association or the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union as a result of a violation to this Code of Ethics shall apply equally to each organization the official is registered with.