about SAOA

The MISSION of the SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC OFFICIALS ASSOCIATION is the enhancement of the knowledge and skills of its members in the sports designated by the active membership to assure a higher level of excellence and participation in officiating; those sports designated by the membership are football, basketball, and any other sport(s) determined by the membership. In order to fulfill the purposes outlined, coordinate and provide activities both within and outside the ASSOCIATION that encourage extensive communication and participation in a variety of professional experiences.

What is SAOA?

The Southwestern Athletic Officials Association (SAOA) has been in existence for over 40 years. The exact date the association formed is not known, but our files have records of rosters and minutes from the early 1960s. Our membership consists of men and women in the southwestern Illinois area that are licensed IHSA football and basketball officials. These members officiate amateur games and contests primarily at the high school and junior high school levels.

The SAOA is proud of the fact that over the years, many of it members have officiated at the IHSA State Finals in both football and basketball. In fact, some of our members have officiated IHSA State Finals in multiple sports. In addition, a large percentage of our members have advanced to officiate at the collegiate level in both sports as well.

The SAOA bylaws can be viewed here.


SAOA Goals

Specifically, the Southwestern Athletic Officials Association strives to do the following:

  1. Promote higher professional standards among sports officials
  2. Encourage uniformity in mechanics and other officiating functions
  3. Conduct meetings on various aspects of officiating
  4. To recruit and train new officials
  5. To work with area schools toward a uniformity in sports officiating fees
  6. To mentor and evaluate member officials to become better officials

Join + Renew

Thank you for considering joining or renewing your membership with the Southwestern Athletic Officials Association.

To complete your membership, you will need to fill out and submit the application on this website and complete payment on our site or in person at an SAOA clinic.

Membership Requirements & Dues

Any person who is a football or basketball official registered with the Illinois High School Association and in good standing is eligible for membership in the Association. To complete the membership form and pay dues, click here.

Benefits of Membership:

  • Help from fellow officials to educate and help you advance.
  • Free admittance to annual IHSA certified clinics in both sports for state certification requirements.
  • Listed on Arbiter that all area athletic directors can access for your availability.
  • Access to Hudl for game film review.
  • Monthly meetings during football and basketball season covering a variety of topics.
  • Awards for achieving playoff assignments and/or reaching the state finals.