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Contact: John Johnson or Andy Frushour-- 517.332.5046

Officials Registration Underway For 2000-01 School Year

EAST LANSING, Mich. - May 19 - Individuals interested in becoming a high school athletic game official for the 2000-01 school year may now register with the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

From now until July 1, Michigan's 11,000-plus game officials in 14 sports are urged to submit their application. The July date is an important one, as it is the deadline for officials who wish to be listed in the MHSAA's annual directory.

"We always encourage officials to register before July 1, so they can be listed in the MHSAA Official's Directory," said Bill Bupp, MHSAA supervisor of officials. "That is very beneficial for officials looking for work and schools looking for officials. Officials listed in the directory are also more visible candidates for approved association membership. Approved association benefits are numerous, so we encourage officials to either seek membership or be asked to join a local group well before the new school year begins."

While early registration is heavily encouraged, Bupp added that new officials are free to register with the MHSAA any time during the year. MHSAA registration fees are among the lowest in the nation. Ten dollars is charged for each sport an official wishes to work, and the processing fee is $15. Officials registered in 1999-00 will be assessed a late fee of $20 for registration after July 1. The processing fee includes liability insurance coverage of up to $1 million for officials while working MHSAA contests.

The 2000-01 school year will be the ninth for the MHSAA's Legacy Program, which allows high school seniors to become registered officials with limited opportunities.

Under the Legacy program high school seniors, who are at least 17, are eligible to be registered for one year in any of Michigan's 14 sports and to officiate contests in grades seven and eight while working with a mentor who is an approved official. Last year, 37 high school seniors took part.

Student officials will benefit from a waiver of the standard $15 processing fee. Registration of $10 per sport will be the only requirement.

"Those individuals who have participated in the Legacy Program as an official or a mentor have found it to be a very positive experience, " said Bupp. "Becoming involved in officiating at a younger age gives officials the opportunity to work more during their prime physical years, and the program overall has the potential to have a positive impact on the future of our officiating ranks."

The officials' registration test is for first-time officials and officials not registered in the past year. The test consists of 65 questions derived from the MHSAA Officials Guidebook, which may be used during the open book test.

"The guidebook is a good reference that can answer many questions about the way the MHSAA operates," Bupp said. "We implemented this test as a way of insuring familiarity with the guidebook and to assure that new registrants are aware of the policies, practices and protocols expected of MHSAA officials."

The number of registered officials in Michigan continues to average above 11,000 annually, a stable figure at a time when other states continue to struggle to recruit officials. Bupp hopes that the current trend continues.

"We can attribute most of our success to the work existing officials have put in to recruit new officials," Bupp said. It's important that we do everything possible to encourage a high standard of training through approved associations, MHSAA camps and clinics, so we can provide the best possible officiating for the competitions in which our young people participate."

More information about officials registration may be obtained by contacting the MHSAA at 1661 Ramblewood Drive, East Lansing, MI 48823. Telephone: 517/332-5046. E-Mail: register@mhsaa.com

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,300 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments conducted in 12 sports for girls and 12 sports for boys which attract approximately 1.3 million spectators each year.