Jeff the ref: Skyline alum officiates for the NCAA

Jeff Yamaoka is a Skyline College alumni, and a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) referee for basketball.

He graduated from high school in 1992 at Saint Nations High School in the Sunset district of San Francisco, and he then went on to attend Skyline College through the years 1993 and 1994.

He transferred to the University of San Francisco (USF) and then a year later Jeff would transfer to San Francisco State where he graduated with a B.A. in Kinesiology. He wanted to become a physical education teacher.

Jeff was asked about his Physical Education profession history, he replied, “I became a Physical education teacher in San Francisco. I taught at George Monsone elementary in 1996 while I was still in school as a student teacher. Then I would become a Physical Education teacher at St. Cecilia for three years. Then Independent elementary for two years.

He was asked what does he like about being a PE teacher he responded, I really enjoy teaching kids, because of their energy and enthusiasm. You can bring out the enjoy, and their motivation.”

Mr. Yamaoka was then ask why did he leave teaching, At the time there was no full time position for elementary schools. I Was worried about maintaining my career.”

Then he was asked when did he started referee? He said, “ I started referee when I was in high school. I would officiate the basketball games for the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO).

I eventually moved on to high school basketball games around the time that I was just about to graduate San Francisco State.

Mr. Yamaoka went to high school officiating camp in 1997 and got hired then after a couple years in 2000 in Junior College. In 2002 to 2003 he went to the camp for division 2, and then got contracted by California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).

Then the following year for Division I was hired by Big West Conference and the West Coast Conference.

Mr. Yamaoka said he moved on to officiate women’s junior college games. Then he continued to say, In 2001 through 2002 I began ref Division II and later in 2002 I would do Division 1. So I have been doing this for about 16 to 20 years now. ”

When Mr. Yamaoka was ask about if any safety procedures for refs. He said, “Division levels they always have an escort, especially in Division 1 they are personal division. “There are rare occurrence that coaches or fans follow officials to the locker room. For safety there are procedures in place to prevent from happening like a form of game management or escorts, ”

Mr. Yamaoka said he has no desire to officiate professional. When asked why he had no desire he replied, “Unlike other in any sports it’s not automatic profession. Officiating is not about getting into the pros”.

Mr Yamaoka describe the process of officiating camps that you attend in order to get contracted. He described his experience, Every camp, I have gotten little nervous, but you gain experience. You advance each level by attending camps over summer. You get your game assignment and you officiate with other officials you may or may not know. You get observe by judges and supervisors as they observe process like on how you look in your uniform and if your in shape. They want young, fit, athletic officials. They observe on how you call a game, and your position on the court, your knowledge of the rules, and your ability to work with others like coaches, players , and the other officials. Base on the campus officials may be over a year to year contract.

There is a dynamic of crew; pase, factors, experience, and crew chemistry. It is like team chemistry, how do the three of us work together do we see the game similar, good game awareness. We huddle up during half or after review calls together. Sometimes we may miss so we evaluate it together, and we recognize bad calls. Out there you see two teams we are the third team.”

He added on that, “We must study and master rules and watch film as much as coaches do.”

We have a rule book, a case book, and mechanic book. The rule book are laws of the sport, then the case book are examples of plays like situations where you apply a rule, and mechanic is guide their responsibilities areas at any given moment. It changes from one second to the next.

In the end he said that, Officiating is an avocation not a vocation. It’s a job not a career. It’s like a hobby I get paid to do. It’s competing, I enjoy doing it and get paid”

Jeff yamaoka now self employed as he owns a cleaning company. On Tuesday and Thursday he still takes Coach Fitzgerald Flag Football class just as he has been since 2007.

When he was asked why he said that he use the class to stay in shape for officiating, but I stay cause I really enjoy this class.