Being an official means upholding an ethical code. We are expected to act in a professional manner, know the rules and oversee a fair and safe contest.  Here are Codes of Ethics from a variety of organizations that you will be associated with in the world of lacrosse.

US Lacrosse Code of Ethics

The definition of ethical behavior is having an understanding of the difference between right and wrong and at all times choosing to do what is right. This definition should be applied at the individual level to those within the US Lacrosse umbrella: employees, volunteers or individuals who represent US Lacrosse within the community at large, as well as the corporate level pertaining to the actions of US Lacrosse, as an organization. Ethical considerations are integral, not optional, elements of all sports activities and apply to all levels of participation. US Lacrosse encourages all members to acknowledge and follow ethical guidelines and demonstrate integrity by voluntarily agreeing to adhere to a moral or ethical code.

Participation in the sport of lacrosse provides a powerful vehicle for a participant’s personal growth and development, teaching the value of respect, fairness, teamwork, communication, responsibility, truthfulness, non-discrimination, honesty and integrity. These values serve as the core ideals for the US Lacrosse Code of Ethics.


A key component of ethical behavior is respect, which is defined at the individual, team and corporate levels. Individuals should value the opinions, views and roles of others who work to further the mission of the organization. All should safeguard the dignity, privacy and freedom of individuals regardless of their race, color, creed, socio-economic status, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or nationality. Respect defines the value that US Lacrosse, as an organization, places on honoring the history of the sport, and demonstrates the regard it shows to the various and disparate constituencies that have come together to form US Lacrosse to further the growth and development of the sport.


Fairness is making decisions without favoritism or prejudice. US Lacrosse firmly believes that the concept of fairness is fundamental to sport. Anything that creates an unfair advantage violates the spirit, as well as the integrity, of the sport of lacrosse.


Teamwork is defined as a cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of individuals who work collectively in the interest of a common goal. US Lacrosse believes there is significant value in promoting teamwork, both on and off the field, in every segment of the sport. All members of US Lacrosse, its staff, and volunteers should adopt and promote the philosophy that greater success can be achieved when individuals sacrifice their desire for personal accomplishment in favor of the benefits of their team.


Communication is an attempt by individuals to create shared understanding. Communication is an active ‘two way street,’ requiring a balance of articulating, listening, writing, reading, observing, questioning, analyzing, and evaluating. Communication is verbal, nonverbal, or written, sent through various media, and transmits a thought provoking idea, gesture, or action. US Lacrosse members, employees and those individuals or groups representing US Lacrosse, should communicate with clarity, honesty, timeliness, and openness. Communication should include all pertinent information shared transparently with all appropriate recipients. Clear, honest, timely communication allows collaboration and cooperation to occur, building a stronger game and community for sport.

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest is present in any instance in which the actions or activities of an individual representing or acting on behalf of US Lacrosse could result in actual or perceived personal gain or advantage, and/or have an adverse effect on the interests, mission or integrity of US Lacrosse. Individuals who represent and serve US Lacrosse, at the local, regional or national levels have a duty to disclose any financial interest or personal obligation that may, actually or perceptually, affect the independence of their judgment.


All members of US Lacrosse, its staff, and volunteers are obligated to comply with all applicable laws. Violation of the law is not tolerated. US Lacrosse reserves the right to review such violations, which may result in revocation of organizational and/or member status.

Representing the fastest growing national sport, as an emerging force in sports organizations and leadership, US Lacrosse has a duty to provide positive influence over athletic administrators, programs, officials, coaches, and players. The goal of US Lacrosse, in creating the Code of Ethics is to promote sportsmanship and character by teaching, advocating, modeling and enforcing ethical principles, while preserving the integrity of the game.

By affiliating with US Lacrosse, individuals and organizations agree to comply with the aspirational guidelines set forth in the Code of Ethics. Failure to adhere to this Code of Ethics may result in revocation of membership or affiliation. US Lacrosse encourages others involved with the sport of lacrosse to adopt and follow these important guidelines.

NFHS Code of Ethics

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has developed and officially adopted the following Code of Ethics for high school officials.

  • Officials at interscholastic athletic events are participants in the educational development of high school students. As such, they must exercise a high level of self-discipline, independence and responsibility. The purpose of this Code is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all interscholastic officials.
  • Officials shall master both the rules of the game and the mechanics necessary to enforce the rules, and shall exercise authority in an impartial, firm and controlled manner.
  • Officials shall work with each other and their state associations in a constructive and cooperative manner.
  • Officials shall uphold the honor and dignity of the profession in all interaction with student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, school administrators, colleagues, and the public.
  • Officials shall prepare themselves both physically and mentally, shall dress neatly and appropriately, and shall comport themselves in a manner consistent with the high standards of the profession.
  • Officials shall be punctual and professional in the fulfillment of all contractual obligations.
  • Officials shall remain mindful that their conduct influences the respect that student-athletes, coaches and the public hold for the profession.
  • Officials shall, while enforcing the rules of play, remain aware of the inherent risk of injury that competition poses to student-athletes. Where appropriate, they shall inform event management of conditions or situations that appear unreasonably hazardous.
  • Officials shall take reasonable steps to educate themselves in the recognition of emergency conditions that might arise during the course of competition.
 Copyright ©2011 National Federation of State High School Associations. All Rights Reserved.

GHSA Code of Ethics

The Georgia High School Association has established a Code of Ethical Conduct.  GHSA official shall:

  1. Constantly uphold the honor and dignity of the avocation of officiating in all personal conduct and relations with the student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fellow-officials, and the general public.
  2. Devote time, thought, and study to the rules of the game and to the mechanics necessary to apply these rules so that the officiating performance will be carried out in a fair and professional manner. An official must be prepared both physically and mentally, dress according to expectations, and maintain a proper appearance that is befitting the professional image of an official.
  3. Uphold the By-Laws and the legal regulations of the GHSA – being aware that high school officiating involves a public trust.
  4. Exercise a high level of integrity when entering into contractual negotiations with GHSA schools.
  5. Never discriminate unfairly by dispensing special favors or privileges to anyone (whether for remuneration or not); and never accept favors or benefits under circumstances which might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of one’s officiating duties.
  6. Make no private promises of any kind binding upon the duties of officials since a GHSA official has no private word which can be binding on public duty.
  7. Expose corruption and breaches of integrity wherever discovered.
  8. Work with fellow officials and the Georgia High School Association in a spirit of harmony and cooperation in spite of differences of opinion that may arise.

Each GHSA official must avoid any action, whether specifically prohibited by this code or not, which might result in or create the appearance of a violation of these standards of conduct which include – but are not restricted to:

  1. Using one’s position as a GHSA official for private gain – exclusive of payment for games worked. (No official shall seek to influence a coach or administrator for the purpose of promoting personal officiating opportunities.)
  2. Giving preferential treatment to any school or coach.
  3. Being involved in any action that gives the appearance of a loss of impartiality or neutrality. No official should accept any assignment at a school where he/she graduated within the last 10 years, at a school where he/she is employed, had player-coach contact previously with any coach involved, or has relatives affiliated with a school as a student or an employee.
  4. Making a GHSA decision outside of official channels.
  5. No member will engage in criminal, dishonest, notoriously disgraceful, or immoral conduct – or any other conduct adversely affecting the confidence of the public or member schools in the integrity of the Georgia High School Association.
  6. No member shall engage in any behavior that can be defined as sexual harassment by a reasonable person.
  7. Use any substance prior to officiating a game/match that would impair his/her physical or mental performance. An official should not use alcoholic beverages at all on the day of a game/match.
  8. While wearing any article of clothing that identifies the individual as a sports official, each member’s speech and actions during or enroute to or from a game/match shall be above reproach and should always demonstrate a strong example of sportsmanship, courtesy, and self-control.
  9. No official shall criticize any other official or any association within the GHSA in the presence of coaches, administrators, players, spectators, or the media before, during, or after a game/match.
  10. No official shall fail to honor an officiating contract.

When there are violations of the Code of Ethics, the Executive Director of the GHSA may direct penalties involving fines, probation periods of varying lengths, and/or suspensions of varying lengths. Persons receiving such penalties have the right to appeal their cases before the GHSA Appeals Committee.

GLOA Code of Ethics

The purposes of the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association (GLOA) Code of Ethics are briefly summarized through the following provisions:

First, to provide our members a meaningful set of guidelines for their professional conduct and to provide them with agreed-upon standards of practice;

Second, to provide to others (i.e. players, coaches, administrators, fans, media) criteria by which to judge our actions as “professionals.

GLOA has adopted this Code and strongly urges its members and officials to adhere to its principles. By doing so, notice is given that we recognize the need to preserve and encourage confidence in the professionalism of Lacrosse officiating. This confidence must first be fostered within the “community” of Lacrosse officials and then within the public generally.

GLOA believes the integrity of officiating rests on the integrity and ethical conduct of each individual official. This integrity and conduct are the very basis of the future, well-being and growth of Lacrosse and the effectiveness of this Association. The Association shall, by programs of education and other means, encourage acceptance and implementation of these Articles.

To these ends, GLOA declares acceptance of this Code:

ARTICLE I – Our Lacrosse officials must be free of obligation to any interest other than the impartial and fair judging of sports competitions. Without equivocation, game decisions, which are slanted by personal bias, are dishonest and unacceptable.

ARTICLE II – Our Lacrosse officials recognize that anything which may lead to a conflict of interest, either real or apparent, must be avoided. Gifts, favors, special treatment, privileges, employment or a personal relationship with a school or team, which can compromise the perceived impartiality of officiating, must be avoided.

ARTICLE III – Our Lacrosse officials have an obligation to treat other officials with professional dignity and courtesy and recognize that it is inappropriate to criticize other officials publicly.

ARTICLE IV – Our Lacrosse officials have a responsibility to continuously seek self-improvement through study of the game, rules, mechanics and the techniques of game management. They have a responsibility to accurately represent their qualifications and abilities when requesting or accepting officiating assignments.

ARTICLE V – Our Lacrosse officials shall not be party to actions designed to unfairly limit or restrain access to officiating, officiating assignments or association membership. This includes selection for positions of leadership based upon economic factors, race, creed, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, physical handicap, country or national origin.

ARTICLE VI – Our Lacrosse officials must maintain a high level of personal conduct, not only at game sites, but in their personal life and accordingly must not engage in any criminal, dishonest, disgraceful, or immoral conduct, or any other conduct which might reasonably adversely affect the association, our relations with the schools, teams, players, other officials or the public.

Originally drafted by Dale Hall and Eric Rudolph on December 26, 2010.