Uniform and Equipment

Uniform Components


Officials' Shirts

Officials shirts, showing which types are allowed and which aren'tShort- and long-sleeve striped football officials' shirts with Byron collar, 1-inch stripes, pocket and split tail for tucking into pants.

Do not buy any of the following shirts:

Note: The Maryland state patch is worn on the right sleeve for games in Maryland. The D.C. patch is worn on the left sleeve for games in DC (Do not arrive at a DCIAA game without it!). The Commissioner will provide patches at the All-Day Clinic plus detailed information about their proper location on your shirt(s). New officials who only own a few shirts are encouraged to use velcro to secure the patches.

Pants and Shorts

Officials Pants and ShortsBeginning in 2011, we will no longer wear white knickers.

Black football officials' pants with 1 1/4" white stripe down the side. No plain black slacks or basketball officials' pants.

White football officials' shorts (with belt loops) for sub-varsity games only . No beltless coaches' shorts.

Plain black belt, at least 1 inch wide, with plain buckle.

Black and White as well as all-White Officials' cap


Black football officials' cap with white piping. Referees wear all-White caps for Varsity games only. Sized caps are strongly preferred. Adjustable caps are discouraged.

WDFOA Undershirt 


Black undershirt, either T-shirt or compression shirt.

Socks, both allowed and not allowedSocks

Plain black socks to be worn with black pants. For wear with shorts, black-and-white one-piece officiating sock with modified Northwestern stripe - 3 white bands, center band is larger than top and bottom bands. Typically sold as "NFHS/NCAA sock." Do not buy socks with an NFL stripe - two white bands, both the same size - and do not buy stirrups.

Cleats, all black

Cleats / Turf Shoes

Solid black cleated shoes. No white logos, i.e., Nike "swoosh," Converse star, etc. Keep your shoes shined and looking sharp.


WDFOA and reversible jacketsJacket / Windbreaker

Black windbreaker for pregame and halftime duties in cold weather. Many officials purchase a reversible jacket. The striped side of the jacket can only be used during a game in extreme circumstances.


Whistles, finger grip and lanyard


A finger whistle is recommended. If you prefer a whistle on a lanyard around your neck, the lanyard must be all black. Always carry a spare whistle.

Penalty flags and bean bag markersPenalty Flags

Gold penalty flag(s), carried inconspicuously in front waistband or entirely in pants pocket. Many officials carry two flags.

Bean Bag Markers

White bean bag(s). Deep Officials (Back Judge / Side Judge / Field Judge) should carry at least 2 at all times. Bags may be nylon or vinyl and may be single or double-sided. Back Judges should also carry an alternate color (blue) bean bag for marking the ends of kicks.

Bullet Pencil and game data cardGame Data Card

May be either disposable paper or reusable plastic, for recording timeouts, result of coin toss, and other administrative information.


For marking game data card. "Bullet" pencils are recommended and can be purchased from most officials' suppliers. Always carry a spare pencil.

Down indicator and linesman's clipsDown Indicator

Worn over the wrist and fingers to help you remember which down is being played.

Linesman's Clip

Can be cloth or a plastic or metal dial. Clipped to the chains to mark their correct position in case they are moved inadvertantly.

Wrist watch and 50-cent pieceWristwatch

Must include a countdown timer (i.e., counts down from 12:00 to 0:00). Should also be water resistant.

Flipping Coin

A 50-cent piece or dollar coin are recommended. There are also special flipping coins available from any of the suppliers.

There are many firms that sell officiating uniforms and equipment, including local distributor TD Sports Supplier (call 703-631-1786 and ask for Dave Gould or Peggy Gould, or email them) and reputable mail order firms Honig's , +POS , Purchase , Stripes Plus, Cliff Keen and Get Official. TD Sports Supplier attends the WDFOA's All-Day Clinic each August and brings a complete line of uniforms and equipment. (Note: This list is provided for informational purposes only. The WDFOA does not endorse a particular firm and does not profit if you decide to do business with any of these firms.)

Which uniform should I take to the game?

» Take both long- and short-sleeve shirts to all games. The entire crew must wear the same type of shirt. (You will make many veteran officials very unhappy if you show up in long sleeves in 90-degree heat, conversely they'll be just as unhappy if you show up in short sleeves when it's 30.)

» Take both both pants and shorts to subvarsity games. The entire crew must wear the same type of pants.

» For varsity assignments, take pants only. Shorts are not permitted.

» For varsity chain crew assignments, wear full uniform with pants (no shorts).

» For varsity clock operator assignments, wear black slacks or black officials' pants, belt, shoes and socks, striped shirt and black & white hat. Take a whistle, too.

» Take black windbreaker to all cold-weather games. If windbreakers are desired for pregame and halftime duties, the entire crew must wear them.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 08-Jun-2011 10:40 ET