The International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO) has developed IAABO University for the online learner.

During the current world-changing times with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, nearly all who have a way to stay home and work from that site has done so in some form or fashion.

Educators from preschool to post-secondary have utilized the internet to teach courses, coordinate student learning and communicate. Distance learning has become part of the normal routine. Many professionals who sat in offices or went on the road with laptops and computers now are home doing the same work.

In that spirit, IAABO University provides an eight-part series of power-point lessons, quizzes and is self-paced. Each lesson has desired outcomes and flows into the next lesson, with the purpose of certifying new basketball officials, while educating them as to why the rules of basketball are written and interpreted as they are.

Anyone who has an interest in becoming a basketball official no longer has to sit in a classroom and have the rules read to them. All one needs is a device that connects to the internet.

The process is simple: Apply by email and pay the fee of $50 for the course. One will receive the current rules book and link to the course. This link will give you access to the site 24 hours a day. It will be there when one is available.

The new official will have five months to go through all eight lessons, take quizzes, speak with a mentor and finish with a final exam. The course allows for stopping and starting regardless of the time of day. A new official can pick up from where he/she stopped at the time that suits their schedule.

IAABO University gives people an opportunity to go at one's own pace, ask as many questions as needed and feel comfortable doing so.

Officiating gives one a way to stay connected, develop life skills in time management, dedication and teamwork. If one wants to stay fit and supplement income, basketball officiating may be a way to do that.

To sign-up to begin a new avocation, or for more information, contact T.J. Halliday, coordinator of officials for Maine, at tj.halliday@mainegeneral.org or visit iaaboboard20.org/MembershipInterest.htm.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.