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Communication & Journalism Department

COJO’s Public Relation Techniques class project recognized in the latest issue of Referee magazine



Often we hear about the struggles of athletes and coaches, but we rarely hear stories from officials who are vital in making sure the game runs smoothly and in a fair manner. Because of this lack of recognition, there is a nationwide shortage of officials in all kinds of sports.

This is also an issue in Wyoming, so when Cindy Price Schultz, COJO department head, heard about this from Tyler Spear, the vice president of Albany County Football Officials Association and UW communication alum, they worked together for a solution.

This work was recognized in the October issue of Referee, the magazine for the National Organization of Sports Officials.

“I always need clients for the final project for Public Relations Techniques, so when I heard that some football games in Wyoming had to be canceled postponed because of lack of officials, I knew that the students could help,” Price Schultz said.

COJO seniors Owen Carlson and Rocky Cordova teamed up with ACFOA and Spear to help them recruit new officials for the organization.

“It has been a long-term issue to get people to want to be officials,” Spear said. “Having been in Dr. Schultz’s class back when I was a student, I knew that this could be a good outlet for us. Like this project did for us, it is a good thing to have the university be a service to the state of Wyoming -, as it should be.”

Carlson and Cordova were tasked to create a local campaign in helping ACFOA’s recruitment for officials and spreading recognition of the organization. They did not dive into the project blindly but instead started by collecting information on officiating to get a clearer understanding of the industry.

The students focused on improving recognition for the officials by creating current business cards for ACFOA members and brochures for them to use at job fairs. On top of those, Carlson and Cordova assisted in improving online relevance by revamping the organization’s website.

“After gathering all the needed information, the students set up their game plan and how to help the organization achieve its main goal of recruiting officials,” Spear said. “These efforts might seem unimportant to some, but these are the little things that officials simply do not have time for.”

NASO’s studies indicated that 80% of new officials step away after only two years of officiating. Spear stated that it is hard having to always start from scratch with new officials every couple of years.

“It is not an easy avocation. We juggle officiating with the things we have to do in our daily lives…, it’s not as simple as showing up to a game,” Spear said. “We have tests and training that we attend. These come out of our own pockets.”

Officials have other jobs, just as Spear is a Director of Development for the UW Foundation. But being an official is more than “a job.”

“We don’t do it for the money, or for the recognition – we do it to remain involved in a game we love,” he said. “Without officials, games have to be postponed or canceled and that is just not something we want. We do the best we can to contribute to the communities we serve.”

Price Schultz said that COJO is interested in contributing to different organizations through their classes, so anyone who needs some communication help for their groups can contact her at


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223/224 Ross Hall

Dept. # 3904

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

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