Referee now whistles while he works

Winning streak for Olympic referee and mature-age graduate Scott Beker

Donning his striped shirt at the Rio Olympics topped off a winning streak for mature-aged graduate Scott Beker.

Anyone who thinks they’re too busy to study can take inspiration from Scott. The 2014 graduate completed a Bachelor of Business and Commerce (Property) online, which helped him switch from a career in banking to property valuation.

Along with fitting study around full-time work, the married father of two balanced it with his work as a professional basketball referee.

Scott worked his way into commercial lending after starting as a bank teller straight out of university. After 14 years, he was desperate for a change. “I got completely bored,” he says. When his employer offered opportunities for staff to study, Scott jumped at the chance. “I was working with commercial valuers every day and I thought it looked interesting,” he says. “I looked at how to get into it and that pointed me to Western Sydney University. I live in Newcastle, so being able to study online made perfect sense.” While studying, Scott kept in touch with valuers he knew through work. “I let the guys know when I finished my course and a week later, a job came up,” Scott says.

With that goal ticked off, the next was an Olympic refereeing gig.

In his 10 years as an international referee, Scott has been to two Basketball World Cups, two World University Games and countless trips to China to referee in their professional league, but Rio was the best experience by far. “I was lucky enough to ref both the US men’s and women’s teams in the preliminary rounds and I finished with a semi-final game, which is a pretty big achievement at that level,” Scott says. “Even though they were playing for high stakes, the atmosphere was a bit more relaxed.” Not only does Scott now enjoy going to work every day as a valuer, he also has plenty to look forward to in his side job. “I’ll start Basketball World Cup qualifiers in 2017, then there’s working on being nominated for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the 2019 World Cup and the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo,” he says

Editor’s note: Since the writing of this article Scott was successful in being selected as a 2019 World Cup referee