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History of 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. The organization is based in Racine, Wisconsin, midway between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Since its founding, 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.

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.