FAQ: Junior National Referee Upgrade Process

Becoming a Junior National referee is a significant step in an official's career. It requires great dedication, skill and professionalism to reach this level. The Ohio Valley Region takes great pride in preparing candidates who will excel in this endeavor.

What requirements must I meet before requesting an upgrade to Junior National?

To become a Junior National referee, you must be a Regional referee in good standing for at least two complete years prior to making application for a JN rating. If an official has extensive experience at the collegiate level, or if the official exhibits great skill, technique and rule knowledge, this two-year requirement may be modified by the OVR Referee Chair.

Candidate hopefuls must have attained a score of 90% on the Form A or Form B USAV rules test for the season in which the application is being considered.

It is also strongly encouraged that Regional referees have significant experience at the highest level of competition in the OVR.

When should I notify the Referee Chair of my interest in obtaining this rating?

By December 1st of each year, you must notify the OVR Referee Chair of your intentions. In addition to this notification, you should also submit a statement detailing why you would like to become a Junior National referee.

What is the first step toward becoming a Junior National referee?

In January, the OVR candidate for Junior National referee must be evaluated at the top level of adult or boys' junior competition during a designated OVR training tournament. The candidate must show great competency as a first referee, second referee and scorekeeper during this process. Candidates will be given training in each position.

At a subsequent tournament in February or March, the OVR candidate(s) for Junior National referee will be evaluated again as a final review before the OVR submits its list of USAV Junior National candidate(s) to USA Volleyball.

If there is more than one candidate, the candidates are "ranked" by the OVR Referee Chair and his designates in order to determine the OVR's top candidate. Often, USA Volleyball offers each region only one bid for a Junior National candidate; hence, the need for this ranking system in the region.

If my name is submitted as an OVR candidate for Junior National referee, what is the next step?

You will go online to the USA Volleyball website and complete the online application form. Applications MUST be completed online; paper applications will not be accepted. A brief bio is also requested during this process, so it is important for you to have a record of your officiating activities over the past 2-3 years.

You must then submit the Signature Page (candidate, regional Commissioner, Referee Chair and Scorekeeper Chair), the $150 application fee and a copy of the current season's test results (corrected to 100%) to the National Commissioner for Referee Administration. The deadline for completing the application process is April 1.

You must also be available to attend the Girls' Junior National Volleyball Championships in June. Dates are posted on the USAV website. It is recommended that Junior National referee candidates also attend a USAV Training Camp at a designated National Qualifier. Dates and other information will be made available on the USAV website and by the Referee Chair.

What happens at the Girls' Junior National Volleyball Championships?

At the Girls' JNC, the USA Volleyball National Rating Team will evaluate candidates to determine their competency. Evaluations as first and second referee, as well as a scorekeeping exam, are administered.

At least three evaluations as a first referee and three evaluations as a second referee will be conducted by the USA National Rating Team (NRT). The NRT may also require additional ratings for candidates who need extra evaluation. In some cases, the NRT may determine that a candidate does not have sufficient experience to earn a Junior National rating. The passing score for the practical evaluations is 88.

It is a good idea to take a small notebook so that you can record significant comments, instructions and suggestions from the raters, since you will not receive copies of your evaluation sheets. This will help you to remember the items that you must work on for your next rating session, as well as things that you can share with your fellow officials in the region.

Finally, remember that the raters are very experienced National and International referees who will offer some valuable feedback to you! This is a great opportunity to hone listening skills! Remember also, that the debriefings are not "discussions;" their purpose is to inform you, so listen well!

How many matches will I work, and do I get paid for the matches I work at the Girls' JNC?

No. Any matches that you work during the rating process are unpaid, even if you are not being evaluated on the match. Generally, you will not have a full schedule of matches each day because your primary goal is to have plenty of energy and rest for your ratings. You will likely not have more than four matches per day, but it is possible to have as many as six, depending on the needs of the raters and the tournament staff. Any matches prior to or after conclusion of the rating process are generally paid matches.

Who covers my expenses when I travel to the Girls' JNC?

In a nutshell, you will be responsible for your own expenses. This includes airfare or mileage, lodging and food. In some cases, there may be an officials' hospitality room that will provide lunch for you, but this is NOT guaranteed. Be prepared to cover all of your own expenses. It is common for officials to share a hotel room in order to cut costs. Don't hesitate to seek a roommate if needed!

You might also talk to new Junior National referees to find out about their experiences.

What happens if I fail the evaluation process?

If you fail the evaluation process, you will retain your Regional rating in the OVR, and you'll have an opportunity to apply for the JN rating the next year after you've completed the OVR evaluation process. Depending upon the number of applicants, you may have to wait up to two or three years before USA Volleyball accepts your application again.

What is the next step in the process if I pass?

If you are successful at the Girls' JNC, you will have now completed the Junior National rating process! At the conclusion of the final evaluations, you will be given your Junior National referee patch.

Now that you have a Junior National patch, you must go out and "earn" the rating by doing an exemplary job, and putting to use all that you have learned!

What are the requirements to maintain good standing as a Junior National?

A Junior National rating is valid for a period of four years. During this four-year period, a Junior National referee must:

  1. Officiate the Boys' or Girls' JNC at least two different years during the four-year period;
  2. Officiate a Qualifier, the Starlings National Championship, the NCVF Collegiate Club Championship, or another JNC once during the remaining two years of the four-year period;
  3. Submit to re-evaluation by the NRT as requested;
  4. Successfully complete the Form A or Form B rules test, closed book, with a score of at least 90%, and submit a copy of the answer sheet to the Associate Chair, USAV National Indoor Officials Commission – Referees;
  5. Remit your annual dues ($40) to the Officials Division of USA Volleyball by November 15.

In addition, a Junior National referee in the OVR must:

  1. Pay the OVR-USAV dues by October 31st of each year;
  2. Attend a pre-season OVR Officiating Clinic;
  3. Officiate a minimum of two local OVR tournaments each season;
  4. Be active at OVR regional events (Boys', Girls', or Adult Championships; Bid Tournaments; Power Challenges; and others as declared by the OVR Referee Chair);
  5. Attend one of these events during two years of every three-year period since receiving this rating. You may have one "off" year during any three-year period;
  6. Be available to serve as a clinician at an officiating clinic as requested by the OVR Referee Chair;
  7. Be willing to serve on the OVR Rating Team if requested by the OVR Referee Chair;
  8. Uphold the highest standards of professionalism!

Final comments from the OVR Referee Chair:

As you can see from reading this FAQ, becoming a Junior National referee requires significant commitment to your officiating career. In addition to your desire to seek a higher rating, you must also consider your family commitments, work schedule and responsibilities, as well as personal finances, before arriving at your final conclusion! Many officials will tell you that their vacation time at work is spent entirely on volleyball each year, and family vacations also end up centering around volleyball events!

The process isn't easy, and it also isn't cheap, but the rewards are great! You will develop many new friendships, get to see different parts of the country, and you'll become a true student of the game.

With the knowledge you earn as a Junior National referee, the tools will be in place for you to pursue a National or International referee rating in the coming years! These opportunities will be at your feet, but it is up to you to decide what kind of Junior National official you'd like to be. If you always strive to be the best, then you can go far. Just remember to stay humble, leave the ego at the door, and don't forget where you started or how far you've come!

Good luck!


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