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Referee Info

    Getting started refereeing with Portland Basketball

    Welcome and thank you- for your interest in refereeing . We currently have TWO TYPES OF REFEREEING that we do; both types of officiating have very different demands/requirements with different pay structure

    1. YOUTH REFEREEING - youth games resemble more of 'REAL' basketball officiating. Youth referees are required to have full uniform, have strong mechanics, maintain focus throughout the game, hustle, and communicate with players and coaches. See Youth League Pay Structure -tab for information on pay amounts per game.

    2. ADULT LEAGUE REFEREEING- adult refs- need the same 'basics' as youth referees (see above) but adult referees need to be much more controlling and strict in their games. ADULT basketball is more about people management- explaining calls- building trust & in doing so- controlling all situations- some referees are natural with adult basketball and not so good with youth basketball, while other referees are more natural with youth/real basketball and not so natural in adult basketball. Also note- many of our Adult league refs play in (or played in) the league and are familiar with the level of control and communication needed to handle the adult league games. From playing in the league- these referees know how to engage and how to control games (this is not to say that if you have not played in this league- you cannot referee in it- many referees can do great at adult basketball without having played in this league... but some referees from 'real' basketball - youth/school/high school type basketball - do not adjust to adult ball well because with 'real' youth- type basketball, you show up as a professional- see a play- make good calls and go home- whereas in the ADULT game you have to be much more engaged from start to finish... you kind of have to 'care' about adult league, you are 'into' the adult league). Most referees are either 'into' real/youth basketball or 'into' adult basketball and only a smaller percentage of officials do both types of refereeing equally well, so we separate referees by YOUTH and ADULT as seen in the next 2 tabs...

    GET STARTED - by attending a meeting with us. We get you on the court fairly immediately to see how it feels for you. Some referees are already certified (in a referees association) and so you are ready to hit the court and be paid now (pay rates on next 2 tabs- so lets get started). Some referees are not certified (not in an association/not in a referee association; there are 4 referee associations to choose from in Portland area- call for info) but we can get you out there to try it out as long as you commit to join one as soon as possible/reasonable. As for how to get paid, we need 2 forms from you- so perhaps download these top 2 forms below (& fill them out) & bring them to the NEXT ORIENTATION MEETING: TBA

  • Youth Basketball pay is $19 per game

    The following are the youth referee expectations

    • Referee will have:
      • Black pants - Available at any clothings stores, NO sweatpants, NO Pleats please
      • Striped shirt - Big 5 or Bashors Team Athletic Stores will have these
      • Black shoes - any black shoes (some white is okay)
      • Fox 40 whistle - Big 5 or Bashors Team Athletic Stores
        • Bashors Team Athletics sore is located at 2828 SE 14th Ave Portland, Oregon 97020. If you go to Bashors ask to see if you can get a discount related by mentioning Mikal Duilio & PortlandBasketball.com


    • Referee will show up at least 10 minutes early, will be professional and will know basic basketball rules
    • Referee will cover the court well. Referee will not get bored in games. Referee will get past half court as trail oficial and the referee will get to baseline ahead of the play as lead official
    • Referee will try to improve. The referee facial and body language indicates 'care' about the game and the players (including lower level players)
    • Referee will make a solid effort to make good calls, and referee will make solid effort to use correct hand signals
    • Referee will have a strong whistle, a firm audible voice and referee will work with partners (make eye contact with partner on close calls)
    • Referee will know the true definitions of a foul vs a no-call. The referee will know basic basketball rules and the referee will know the various definitions of such things as fouls, verticality, advantage/disadvantage, etc.

  • Adult League Referee base pay is $14 per game

    Adult game referees are required to have many of the same prerequisites as Youth game referees, such as an affiliation with an accredited basketball association. In addition to this adult game referees are required to be more verbally proactive and maintain strict court discipline. A much firmer hand is needed in adult games, as such the ability to keep a game under control and defuse tense situations before they occur is highly valued in our adult game referees.

    Adult game pay starts at $14 per game. Below are the different ways we ask our referees to improve their game in order to increase their pay rate. Each skill described below, once attained will result in an additional $1 in pay per game. If a ref masters all of the skills below they can expect to make $19.50 per game.

    BASE PAY $14

    Plus $1 for Being Verbally Proactive
    Basketball players

    Being Verbally Proactive

    Below is the 1st of 5 skill sets-that once attained- can increase your pay by basically a 'buck per skill attained' (for adult basketball; this entire section is related to adult basketball- not youth basketball).

    Verbally skilled refs make games safer. This verbally skilled referee uses a firm but calm/respectful voice in illustrating- 'rules based answers' to player complaints or questions (creating a trust between the player; keep in mind- 'trust' becomes 'game control'- something PortlandBasketball.com values).Verbally skilled referees know all definitions (when asked in a game or a review- you can state the 3 things that constitute a foul, you can define the timing of position, you know the parameters and timing around the rule of verticality) and you in fact- you use those verbal definitions throughout the game to keep the game safe. Your verbal skills keep games safe.

    When you have a no call (but there was a lot of contact and the offensive player might look at you - or say something) - you might say- 'Defense is there'- firmly- loudly- to the gym.

    When you have a foul call (and you feel like the defender is going to disagree) - you should say- 'you got there late' or something to that effect (saying 'you got him/her' is describing contact and that is not advised b/c fouls are 90% defined by position, not contact so its better to define foul based on the player getting there 'on time' or not getting there on time 'got there late').

    Games refereed without verbal skill can lose control: without a verbally skilled referee- a knucklehead player (a player who is just 'off' that night) get mad and more mad throughout the game (as they do not sense there is a rationale behind your calls) and eventually these knuckleheads become MORE enraged... and yes- they can become dangerous BUT a verbally skilled referee does not have that happening in his/her games because -- the referee describes why he/she has a no-call or foul call- and in doing so- this referee is establishing trust between the players and the referee (and trust- becomes control- becomes a safer game, thus the increase in pay; youth basketball is about showing up and doing a great job where adult basketball refereeing is similar but more about safety for that game but safety for future games as well and we find that verbally proactive referees make games/the league safer).

    Being verbally skilled- allows you (the referee) to be seen as 'making judgments based on rules' versus being seen as not paying attention or missing the call or guessing (restated: your verbal explanation allows players to hear/see what the referee is seeing); being verbal helps the referee get through games easily (players trust you are making calls based on real rules not just 'winging it'); being verbal makes the game better for players as there is less arguing, less anger buildup, etc.

    Being verbally skilled at the level we would like is not required but if you are 'that person' and want the $1 bonus- ask for a review (same concept applies to the other skills & corresponding bonuses - discussed below).

    Plus $1 for Being Strict
    Tip off

    Being Strict

    Being strict: being strict in regards to unsafe plays and sportsmanship violations. This protects your games, but just as importantly you are not 'passing' on bad players who carry those traits to the next game. Handling the problem right when it comes up makes that player safer for upcoming games, as well. A strict referee does not pass on conflict and let the game just go on. A strict referee deals with conflict in the game with warnings, technical fouls and flagrant foul calls.

    You are willing to call Flagrant 1 fouls: A strict referee calls flagrant fouls (at a clip of about 2 per night - especially when refereeing in the lower levels). This referee makes the adult league safe by changing players attitude about what they can and cannot do on the court. This referee calls this type of foul even if the foul is accidental and/or even if the foul is committed by a good-person that meant no harm. New policy (adult league) we now call intentional fouls "intentional fouls", we now call excessive fouls as "excessive fouls" and we now call dangerous fouls as "dangerous fouls" all with the same penalty as the flagrant1 (2 shots and the ball). Or you can call any of these things a Flagrant 1. Customer service is nice but when a player does something unsafe, the referee's entire purpose at that moment is to penalize that play.

    You are willing to call Flagrant 2 fouls: if a foul is dangerous/excessive COMBINED WITH intentional, that is a flagrant 2 because the play has 2 bad elements. A flagrant 2 foul is an ejection. Not every referee will call this call when it comes up, many referees 'pass' and go with the Flagrant1 or they call a regular foul with a warning but a 'strict' referee calls the play for what it is.

    You are willing to call Technical fouls: A strict referee does not allow demeaning comments from a player to an opponent, demeaning to the referee, or demeaning to the game. A technical foul is called and a strict referee changes players by forcing players to behave better and practice good sportsmanship. This referee does not pass on warnings or technical fouls- this referee does not 'rise above' bad behavior (some referees think 'rising above' bad attitudes on the court is a good thing but with adult basketball, PortlandBasketball.com prefers a 'strict referee'. A strict referee does this calmly without it being personal. This skill takes a lot of time to develop.

    Plus $1 for Being Accurate & Having Good Mechanics
    Courtside shot

    Being Accurate & having Good Mechanics

    Your calls are accurate. You know all your definitions- and you see the game based on those definitions. You make correct calls. You also have correct positioning and correct mechanics (correct hand signals- you look official out there).

    Plus $.50 for Good Attitude
    Basketball player slam dunking



    You care about the league, you engage with players and you genuinely like the league. None of those things are required from a referee but if you are 'that person'- you can discuss getting a bonus of $1 for (being 'that person') because those type of referees make the league better. You bring spare uniforms to loan out- to keep the league uniform-rule going- you do this because you care that every game dresses/looks professional- you are not required to do that in basic refereeing, you simply care about the league.

    Plus $1 for Being the Gym Lead
    Basketball players

    Being the Gym Lead

    A 'Gym Lead' is the referee who enforces the uniform rule (uniforms & undershirts must match). This referee volunteers to be a 'Gym Lead' with a bonus of $1 per game; this referee often brings spare uniforms- so that- one way or another every game under that referee's watch- has matching uniforms. 'Gym lead' does the following as well: shows up early to the gym, brings sheets to keep track of fouls, dry mops the court for safety- and phone calls the game results to office (ph) 503-597-8819. Being a 'Gym Lead' is voluntary- no one has to be a Gym Lead. Many referees do not want to be a Gym Lead as they like to show up-referee and head home.

    If you are a rookie official or new to PortlandBasketball.com and you get the feeling that being a Gym Lead is only for veterans- that is not true- rather- anyone who is timely- organized and cares to enforce the uniform rules can be a 'gym lead' and - actually- one of the fastest ways to gain verbal skill and rapport with players in the adult game is- to be more engaged so PortlandBasketball.com has encouraged newer referees to be 'Gym Leads'. Restated: that extra duty of being the Gym Lead- forces newer/rookie referees to engage more with the customers (the Gym Lead does 5 to 6 verbal things before the game even tips off). Equipment needed: spare jerseys, foul sheets & reliable transportation; call 503-380-4539 to discuss becoming a Gym Lead.

    Plus $1 for Being a member of an Officials Association
    Tip off


    Joining a referee association- is required in this profession; in fact, Beaverton Hoop YMCA who we contract with to provide referees- requires referees to be certified members of an association, as does any youth contractor. Membership in an association verifies that you are trained and certified in your craft. Additionally, most insurance companies used by gyms, recreation districts, schools, etc. (for liability insurance) require that subcontractors be covered by their own insurance- and so- referee associations provide insurance for their members. And- joining a referee association is required for legal reasons (government agencies require it as well). Employees and independent contractors have different requirements with the state for payroll taxes, worker's compensation, unemployment, etc. The state may require proof of membership with an association to support independent contractor status. If you are audited and are unable to establish your income as an independent contractor you may owe additional back taxes.

    Question: which association should you join?
    Answer: here are four such associations to consider:

    Steve Scott

    Steven Bulen

    Tualatin Hills:
    Matt Mayer

    Greg Richardson

    Question: and what does it mean to work for multiple sources? Answer: the referee/sports official cannot officiate for just this league; the referee is an independent contractor and as such- the referee officiates for various organizations per ye

  • Videos for PortlandBasketball.com.com officials to watch (to learn definitions). The videos below are an aid to help referees know the correct definitions involved in the game and how knowing/applying those definitions helps keep the adult-league game safe.

    • Video 1:
      Proactive refing in an adult basketball league

    • Video 2:
      Definition of a foul involves these 3 items

    • Video 3:
      Rebound fouls- Offensive fouls- Flagrant fouls

    • Video 4:
      Technical fouls in an adult basketball league

    • Video 5:
      Identify a Tough Game

    • Video 6:
      Rule of Verticality

    • Video 7:
      Examples of being Verbal- what to say

    • Video 8:
      Proactive Officiating

    • Video 9:
      How to Ref the women's league

    • Video 10:
      How to Ref 3rd and 4th Grade Basketball

    • Video 11:
      How to make a game (when a team is short)

    • Video 12:
      How to call Technical fouls

    • Video 13:
      Technical foul featuring LeBron James

    • Video 14:
      What is the standard for Technical Fouls

    • Video 15:
      How to clean a court in rare situation of wetmopping

    • Video 16:
      How to Properly Administer Technical Fouls and Ejections

    • Video 17:
      2016 Definition of a Foul &/or a No-Call

    • Video 18:
      2016 about the Rule of Verticality

  • Youth Games

    We provide referees to a wide variety of youth programs.  There are 32 busy weekends per year with many youth games for Portlandbasketball.com referees.  In addition to games played at the Beaverton Hoop YMCA, there are opportunities to ref at schools and communities all around the Portland-Metro and Vancouver-Metro areas.  The following are busy youth weekends when many of our referees are called into service:


    Saturday June 27th

    Sunday June 28th

    Saturday July 11th

    Sunday July 12th

    Saturday July 18th

    Sunday July 19th

    Saturday July 25th

    Sunday July 26th

    Saturday August 1st

    Sunday August 2nd

    Saturday September 19th

    Sunday September 20th

    Saturday September 26th

    Sunday September 27th

    Saturday October 3rd

    Sunday October 4th

    Saturday October 10th

    Sunday October 11th

    Saturday October 24th

    Sunday October 25th

    Saturday October 31st

    Sunday November 1st

    Saturday November 7th

    Sunday November 8th

    Saturday November 14th

    Sunday November 15th

    Saturday November 21st

    Sunday November 22nd

    Saturday November 28th

    Sunday November 29th

    Saturday December 5th

    Sunday December 6th




    Saturday January 9th

    Sunday January 10th

    Saturday January 16th

    Sunday January 17th

    Saturday January 22nd

    Sunday January 23rd

    Saturday January 29th

    Sunday January 30th

    Saturday February 6th

    Sunday February 7th

    Saturday April 2nd  

    Sunday April 3rd

    Saturday April 9th

    Sunday April 10th

    Saturday April 16th

    Sunday April 17th

    Saturday April 23rd

    Sunday April 24th

    Saturday April 30th

    Sunday May 1st

    Saturday May 7th

    Sunday Mat 8th

    Saturday May 14th

    Sunday May 15th


  • Why do I need to agree to a Background Check?

    The YMCA does not allow refs who have been convicted of crimes against children or violent crimes to officiate any of their youth games.  Your full name and birth date must be provided to the league office for the background check.


    Why do I need to send an invoice?

    As a referee you are an independent contractor.  In order to maintain this status, you must periodically send invoices to the Portland Basketball office.  Invoicing also assures you that you are getting properly compensated for the games that you work.


    How do I send an invoice?

    All invoices must include the following elements.  The word “invoice,” the date you are writing it, the days of games you officiated/gym locations/number of games and the total amount of money you are owed for the above games.  Invoices must be texted or emailed to the Portland Basketball office or assigning line.


    What happens when I have to officiate a coach or a player that I know really well?

    Keep your distance from that person from the beginning of the game until after the post-game.  Be a ref, not a person.  Do not address your friend by their name, instead use “coach” or “number 23.”  Do not give too much eye contact to the person you know, keep physical space between you.  Before and after the game, avoid being personal.  Extremely friendly greetings between referees and game participants can be construed very negatively by spectators or members of the other team.


    How does scheduling work?

    The assigner posts the schedule online a week in advance and texts all referees asking them to accept the shifts that they are being offered with a “Got Mon” (or Tues, or Weds etc.) type text.
    The assignor then send a second text to referees who are NOT on the schedule, and has them text back with "Want Mon" or “Want Wed” to create a backup list. Referees who decline their games are then replaced by referees on the backup list. Please reply to any text from the assigning line within an hour or two.  If the assignor doesn’t hear from you, you will be replaced.


    How do I alert the scheduler of my availability?

    The more you communicate with the schedulers the better.  Communicate your weekly availability with the assigning line at the beginning of every week.   Referees are always welcome to ask if there are available games on a particular night. The more seniority you have among our pool of referees, the more games you will get scheduled for.


    Do I have to call Technical Fouls?

    Technical fouls must be called to keep games in control.  Many referees are giving out multiple warnings without giving technical fouls.  By doing this they are giving a slightly belligerent player tacit permission to continue and in the fourth quarter games end up in a dangerous and volatile state.  Warnings and technical should be used to curb demeaning behavior before it becomes detrimental to the game.


    The game I am officiating is a blowout, can I end it early?

    No you may not end any game early.  Players pay for 50 minutes of game time and it is unethical to deny them of that.  The last few minutes of the game provide valuable exercise for all players and an opportunity for some players to score who may not have had the chance during the rest of the game. 


    What are the busiest days?  When are there the most games available?

    Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays have the adult leagues with the most teams, so naturally they have the most games to referee.  On youth weekends, Saturdays and Sundays have a ton of games available to referee.  Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are traditionally the days with the least amount of games.


    When are the best days to play basketball in our league?

    Referees are heartily encouraged to play in our leagues.  If you don’t want to give up your referee shifts, the best days to play are days are Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  Many referees also take advantage of the flexibility of our single game Pick to Play program.


    What is the difference between officiating the adult leagues and other types of basketball games?

    Refereeing in the adult leagues requires an ability to communicate so directly and so quickly and especially so accurately, that it generally takes time to learn, even with experienced refs.  Even the most skilled referees have to adjust to being proactive, verbal, and managing egos and attitudes of players in the adult leagues.


    Why do I have to get certified by an official’s association?

    Being a member of a certified official's association is a precondition of refereeing at any level.  The necessity of being certified is an underlying condition of being an independent contractor and refereeing youth and adult basketball through Portlandbasketball.com.  Being certified is a legal necessity for all referees.


    When do we get paid?

    Pay is weekly and gets processed on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.  It will show up in your account on Thursdays or Fridays. The office will provide you with a link to access all of your weekly pay stubs.


    Where do my partner and I stand after a heated game?

    If your game had controversy and there are potential hot-heads milling about, you and your partner must go to center court for two minutes.  Make sure there is a space cushion around you two.  This allows a hothead to cool themselves off for five or six steps if they try to approach you.  Do not go to the scorer’s table or your duffel.  Go to center court and wait out the bad vibes.


    If I decline a shift, will the schedulers hold it against me?

    If you can’t do a shift that is completely allowed.  Simply respond quickly and decline the games you are offered.  This gives the schedulers as much time as possible to replace you.  If you decline a shift as soon as it is offered, there is no problem.  If  you do not respond to an offered shift and have to be chased down for your answer, or you accept a shift and then try to cancel last minute it will not be tolerated.


    What do I do if a player hits the floor and leaves a wet spot?  What if there is a problem with the score/scoreboard?

    Stop the game clock and wipe the water/sweat/condensation/gatorade off of the floor.  Do not continue a game if there is water or sweat on the floor.  It is dangerous and a potential lawsuit for the league waiting to happen.  If there is a problem with the score or scoreboard, stop the clock and slowly and calmly resolve the issue.  It is important for referees to remain in complete control of the game, to be willing to stop the clock and patiently resolve issues correctly.


    What are the rule differences for the Intel League?


    Intel league teams get 3 timeouts per game.  The clock stops during timeouts.  If the game is within 10 points when he two minute mark of the second half hits, it is stop clock.  Once one team is up by 11 or more points, the clock runs again.  Intel teams may wear non-matching shirts under their jerseys, because they are a part of a special league.


    What are the rules for the Nike League?

    There are two 20 minute running clock halves.  Each teams gets two timeouts per half, the clock stops during timeouts.  Players get 5 personal fouls each.  If the game is within 10 points in the final two minutes it is stop clock.



    I am scheduled for a youth game but it got cancelled, do I still get paid?

    In the logistics of youth game scheduling, sometimes referees find themselves on a court where a game does not take place.  If it is your last scheduled game for the day, you simply go home and do not get paid.  If the game is in the middle of your shift, you get $10 and have the hour off.  The same holds for Adult ball..



    What kind of whistle do I need?

    A Fox 40 whistle is required for all games.  These can be purchased at Big 5, Dicks or Bashors Team Athletic Store.  Amazon.com also carries Fox 40 whistles.



    What do I wear to referee adult league games?

    In addition to a black and white striped referee shirt, adult league officials are required to wear completely black shoes, black socks, and black shorts or slacks.



    What do I wear to referee youth league games?

    In addition to a black and white striped referee shirt, youth league officials are required to wear completely black shoes and black slacks.  Sweatpants/warm-up pants are not permitted.  Polyester or other light weight pants work best and can be purchased at any major department stores (Macy’s, JC Penny, etc).  Some officials prefer to buy Nike Golf or Nike Tiger Woods black slacks.



    How do I open Hillside Community Center?

    Use the key to unlock the twisty lock on the front door and let yourself in the building.  Enter the four digit security code on the alarm pad and then press off.  Open the office, grab the screwdriver and un-pop the front doors so that they will open from the outside.  Set up a table for the scoreboard and ten chairs along the opposite sideline for spectators.  Open the back supply room and get the scoreboard and time clock.  Then mop the gym.


    How do I close Hillside Community Center?

    Put the scoreboard and time clock back in the back supply room and lock it.  Make sure the bathroom is clean.  Open the office and turn off all of the lights and use the screwdriver to pop the two front doors (you will still be able to get out).  Use the key to lock the twisty lock on the front doors.  IF THERE IS A CUSTODIAN IN THE BUILDING, you do not need to set the alarm.  If you don’t see a custodian in the building (keep in mind they are often downstairs) and you don’t see a car other than yours in the parking lot, enter the four digit alarm code and press away.  If it says armed and gives you a countdown, leave because you have set it correctly.



    Today is 15 degrees hotter than yesterday, will my adult league games play any differently?

    Whenever temperature goes up 15 degrees randomly like today, people’s brains haven’t adjusted and they get stuffy and grumpy. Be on it tonight with foul calls.  Before the game, be strict with uniforms and immediately look to call for reaches, fouls and warnings.  Be strong early because increased temperatures outside increase trouble on the court.