NIRSA’s partnership with Special Olympics, concentrated around our shared goal to expand Unified Sports on campuses across North America, continues to grow. Not only are NIRSA Championship Series flag football and basketball seeing the growth of Unified divisions at their regional and national tournaments, but, over the course of the last academic year alone, 103 new Unified intramural programs have been initiated on campuses.

Opportunity for NIRSA student officials

As part of this growing partnership, NIRSA has an incredible opportunity for NIRSA student officials: a chance to officiate a Unified flag football game at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games! The USA Games showcase the power and joy of sports at the highest levels. From July 1–6, 2018, more than 4,000 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will gather in Seattle, WA to compete in 14 sports. They will be joined by an expected 70,000 spectators at this event that happens only once every four years.

Four NIRSA student officials will get to demonstrate their officiating skills on this premier, national stage. They will also be directly contributing to the success of the USA Games, giving stage to the limitless talents of people with intellectual disabilities while promoting the barrier-breaking power of sport to promote inclusion and acceptance. The officials will also be able to be a part of the Games’ Opening Ceremony at Husky Stadium on July 1, 2018.

In addition to working for social wellbeing and inclusive environments (and building their own résumés in the process), the four chosen student officials will have the opportunity to learn game management in a non-intramural and non-collegiate-campus setting, which can particularly be an asset to those wishing to continue with officiating beyond their time as students. There will also be an evaluator on site to help with skill refinement and development.

Applications will be available soon

The application for this opportunity will be open from November 1, 2017, through January 7, 2018. During that time, the application will be accessible through the NIRSA Championship Series Staff and Officials webpage. Please note, all applicants must be available to officiate from June 30–July 7, 2017.

Priority will be given to officials with Unified programs on their campuses and who have officiated at a NIRSA regional flag football tournament with a Unified division. NIRSA’s goal is to have a diverse representation of officials.

The student officials selected will be provided a travel stipend (up to $500), apparel, food, lodging, and airport transportation.

  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Director of Sport Programs, Valerie McCutchan, or the lead for NIRSA officials at the 2018 USA Games, Brooke Turner.
Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at |

Erin O'Sullivan is currently the Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at NIRSA.