BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — Boardman is helping fill a sports officiating crisis by building a pipeline of younger officials.

The school started a pilot class this year, teaching a sports officiating education curriculum. Five students have already had the opportunity to officiate actual games on a lower level.

The idea is to help bring along younger referees, who can include officiating as they pursue academic or professional goals.

One of the students, Braeden Pugh, won a $500 grant to help buy officiating equipment.

“Definitely a job that people are looking for. If you want opportunity, then you need to take the class, because you’ll definitely get opportunity,” Pugh said.

Braeden Pugh wants to become a certified sports official.

Boardman will make sports officiating a semester class next year. Students will not be required to get certified in any sport.