About Us

The Stars & Stripes Academy was created in 2012.

Stars & Stripes Academy

The Stars and Stripes Academy was created in 2012 by Karl Richins (former Big-12 referee, published author, and current Big Sky Conference Coordinator of Officials) and Ryan Dickson (NFL Side Judge #25) as a way to prepare officials for the experience of working “big time” football. The Academy is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, with this upcoming year (2018) being held May 17th through the 20th.

There are a multitude of outstanding and worthwhile camps and clinics around the country, but Karl and Ryan wanted to create something different.

What makes us different?


Officials are assigned to crews three months in advance of the actual Academy. Each crew has a mentor who is an active, FBS level official. Crews engage in conference calls, rules study, film review and all the preparations normally associated with an actual crew working big time football.


The students work actual conference games in a regional Semi-pro football league with many former pro and D-1 college football players. These are real snaps with real coaches and real players vying for league superiority and prize money. Students get the opportunity to be trained not only in mechanics and judgment, but game management including coin toss, clock management, penalty administration, measurements, dealing with coaches and everything else that happens in a real football game.


feedback is 100% college focused, 100% immediate, and 100% HONEST. Positive feedback is given, but the focus is on getting better and SASA instructors don’t hold anything back when it comes to constructive feedback. The 2018 staff is still in the works, however there will not be too many changes from 2017.


Competition is fierce with each crew competing for the honor of being the #1 crew and each official trying to be #1 at his position. A proctored rules test is administered which factors into the overall crew evaluation and individual position evaluations.

2018 - Our best Academy Yet

These factors combine to create an unparalleled simulation of big time football.  Both on-field and non-field students are fully immersed in the D-1 experience, with all students getting maximum training and feedback.

The 2018 SASA will be an improvement over the first six years.  We have learned from past mistakes and believe the 2018 SASA will be the best Academy yet.  We look forward to seeing you there! 

College Networking
Personalized Feedback
Experienced Staff

We actually CARE

We do not prey upon the hopes & dreams of aspiring officials for profit. SASA was created to help officials get maximum return on their time & investment into officiating by helping officials realize their potential AND their limitations. We emphasize TRAINING and honest feedback. SASA is expensive, but that’s because we invest heavily in our staff, quality football games, cutting edge technology and video capabilities to provide a product that is unmatched anywhere.