Jim started officiating in 1971 and was a member of the AOA from 1971 through 1985. He officiated IHSA State Finals in basketball 1989, 1990, 1991; the IHSA state championship game in football 1983, 1984; and the IHSA state finals in baseball 1987, 1988; becoming only one of a handful of officials who ever reached the state finals in all three sports. Lapetina was a Big Ten referee and worked the 1995 Orange Bowl National Championship as a back judge. He officiated four Arena Bowl championships in 1989, 1990, 1995 and 2000, and received the All-American College Football Official of the Year Award in 2002. Lapetina continued his service to officiating as a replay official for the NFL and was assigned to Super Bowl XLIV and Super Bowl LIII in that capacity. Jim was Vice-President of the AOA football division in 1980 and 1981 and he was named to the Central Officials Association Hall of Fame in 2005 and an IBCA Hall of Fame Inductee in 2010.