NEW to MHSAA Officiating?
School sports are an extension of student education and you can help teach the importance of following rules, fairness and impartiality by being a part of this classroom away from the classroom. The need for qualified and dedicated individuals has never been greater and the time is now. The process of becoming an MHSAA Registered Official is an easy one and can be found below.
You must first register at MHSAA.com.
- Standard registration: $70 registration includes two sports and $16 per any additional sport.
- Student Legacy registration: $38 registration includes two sports and $16 per any additional sport.
Officials registration renewals must be applied for annually.
Once you register, next steps
Complete the following online, open-book exams to finalize your registration:
Contact a registered assigner in your area. These individuals will assign you contests.
Contact approved associations in your area. These organizations help organize trainings and mentor new officials.
Arbiter Sports account - this is where you will typically receive your officiating assignments.
Arbiter/Ref pay account - this is where you will typically receive payment from schools. Be sure to register as officials & workers.
How do I register to become an official?
I am a new official, what requirements do I need to complete?
New officials and those not registered the previous school year must take an Officials Guidebook exam, a Principles of Officiating exam, and complete a mechanics exam if registering for football and/or basketball. These are open-book and are taken online after you have applied for registration. Here are the links for the manuals from which to study:
Where do I get a rule book and mechanics manuals?
The MHSAA provides all officials with the required rules and mechanics materials to serve as an official after the registration process has been completed.
Where do I find officiating uniforms and equipment?
How do I get paid during the regular season?
During the regular season, schools set rates for contest officials fees, often negotiated with officials through their Registered Assigners. Pay rates generally range anywhere from around $40 for lower level single contests, to $100+ for double-headers or even a couple hundred dollars for tournaments or meets. Schools also may choose to pay officials electronically or check. Electronic Payments are typically paid through Arbiter Pay/Ref Pay.
You are an independent contractor and responsible for compliance with IRS requirements, but most officiating expenses are deductible from earned income.
How do I get games?
- Find Local Approved Associations and Registered Assigners in your area through the MHSAA website or contact local schools.
- Follow instructions for being included in assigning groups.
- Make yourself available for receiving assignments as often as possible.
- Reach out to other officials within the association for recommendations and requests to work with you.
What are the benefits from officiating?
- It’s a great way to stay involved in the sports you love. You can continue to be an active participant in contests to ensure that the games are played safely and fairly. Officiating gives you the best seat in the house...you just have to stand.
- Officiating allows you to give back. School sports are an integral part of the fabric of our communities, and without officials, the contests couldn’t be played. The best officials exemplify hard work, dedication and integrity and demonstrate the importance of fairness, impartiality, and doing the right thing.
- Remaining active in school sports through officiating provides individuals an opportunity to stay physically and mentally fit. It challenges you in areas that simply watching sports cannot provide.
- Officiating school sports is a great way to earn extra income. Whether it be to put away some savings, add to your kids’ college funds, or use for family vacations, officiating allows you an enjoyable way to earn disposable income on your own schedule.
Keys to Success
- Study your rule books, case books and mechanics manuals
- Keep in adequate physical and good mental condition
- Read the Officials Guidebook, MHSAA benchmarks and review general and sport-specific updates, interpretations and event at www.mhsaa.com/officials
- Find an experienced veteran official to serve as a mentor or have a mentor assigned to you through your Local Approved Association in our MHSAA Officials Mentorship Program
- Attend meetings with your Local Approved Association and trainings through camps and clinics
- Maintain a record of your scheduled contests
- Purchase proper uniforms and keep them in good, clean condition
- Return phone calls and emails promptly and keep a copy of correspondence in regards to officiating
- Report any unusual incidents or any ejections to the MHSAA within 24 hours and keep a record of these submissions
- Be patient as you will likely need to start out officiating at lower levels to develop your skills and establish credibility
Do I need insurance?
Part of an official’s registration with the MHSAA provides each with comprehensive liability and catastrophic medical coverages. Some officials choose to independently purchase additional supplemental insurance.