Who We Are: the National Association of Sports Officials
In July 1980, NASO, the National Association of Sports Officials, officially came into existence with the then 26,000+ Referee magazine subscribers serving as the initial membership.
Since then, thousands of officials have joined the association and realized the unique benefits of membership. But while the primary goal of NASO is to serve its members, NASO’s work has gone far beyond that to serve and benefit the entire community of sports officials worldwide.
NASO’s work focuses on three main efforts — protect, educate and advocate for officials:
- NASO protects officials through its insurance benefits, including $7 million in general liability coverage and $100,000 game call and assigner’s coverage. Additionally, through its Member Information and Consultation Program (MICP), NASO is the only organization in the world providing sports officials direct consultation when any officiating-related problem arises.
- NASO not only educates officials through the monthly subscription to Referee magazine that every member receives, it provides deep discounts to dozens of officiating training publications to every member. NASO also created Association Advantage to provide training materials to local officials association throughout the country. Additionally, NASO hosts the only national conference for officials working any sport and any level, annually providing in-depth discussion and analysis of critical issues facing sports officials.
- NASO advocates for officials in a wide variety of strategic and ad hoc efforts, including providing a voice in major media outlets in defense of officials and officiating, teaming up with the V Foundation for “Blow the Whistle on Cancer” events, providing forums and recognizing the good works of officials through a variety of awards and efforts, and advocating legislatively for increased assault protections and limited liability laws.
The staff of Referee Enterprises, Inc., (REI), the company that publishes Referee, serves as NASO’s management company, providing the day-to-day operations of the association. While the two organizations are often viewed as one and the same in the eyes of the officiating public, REI and NASO are separate entities. REI is a for-profit business while NASO is a not-for-profit educational organization. Under the management partnership between the two, REI provides the staff necessary to handle NASO’s membership needs.
NASO is governed by a board of directors culled from the best and brightest officiating minds in the nation. More than 75 leaders have served on the NASO board since 1980, under the leadership of nearly 30 chairpersons. Many sports and all levels of officiating have been represented in that time. More importantly, the men and women who have served represent the forward-thinking professionalism that governs NASO today and beyond.