In this week's "Be the Referee" installment, assistant director Brent Rice explains changes this spring in boys lacrosse that address body checks and targeting.
Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.
Below is this week's segment – Boys Lacrosse Safety - Listen
There are several changes in high school boys lacrosse this season that continue to address player safety.
Two involve body checks. First, a player may not initiate a legal body check that follows through into contact on an opponent’s neck or head. Also, a body check shall not be delivered to a player in a defenseless position.
The other rules changes are similar, but fall under the category of targeting. A player may not initiate targeting – taking aim at the head or neck area for the purpose of making violent contact – and a player may not target a player in a defenseless position. These changes put lacrosse in line with rules addressing similar situations in other collision sports, like football and ice hockey.
April 25: Softball Illegal Pitch - Listen
March 21: Instant Replay in Basketball - Listen
March 14: Basket Interference - Listen
March 7: Primary Areas - Listen
February 28: Under the Bus - Listen
February 21: You Make the Call - Listen
February 14: Because They Love It - Listen
February 7: Coach/Official Communication - Listen
January 31: Backcourt Violation? - Listen
January 24: Required Hockey Equipment - Listen
January 17: You Make the Call: 10-Second Clock - Listen
January 10: Tripping in Hockey - Listen
January 3: Sliding in Basketball - Listen
December 27: Stalling in Wrestling - Listen
December 20: Basketball: You Make the Call - Listen
December 13: Basketball Uniform Safety - Listen
December 6: Coaching Box Expansion - Listen
November 29: Video Review, Part 2 - Listen
November 22: Video Review, Part 1 - Listen
November 15: You Make the Call - Sleeper Play - Listen
November 8: 7-Person Football Crews - Listen
November 1: Overtime Differences - Listen
October 25: Trickery & Communication - Listen
October 18: Punts & Missed Field Goals - Listen
October 11: What Officials Don't Do - Listen
October 4: Always 1st-and-Goal - Listen
September 27: Unique Kickoff Option - Listen
September 20: Uncatchable Pass - Listen
September 13: Soccer Rules Change - Listen
September 6: You Make the Call: Face Guarding - Listen
August 30: 40-Second Play Clock - Listen
August 23: Football Rules Changes - Listen
While fans are settling into another season, Michigan State Police Lt. Tedric Gibbs has been fully immersed in football for months.
The Jackson Post’s assistant post commander serves as assistant coach for Jackson High School’s varsity football team and for the team at Parkside Middle School.
“I started coaching when my older son was in youth sports, as a way to do something together that we both love,” Gibbs said. “My younger son followed the same path, so I joined his team too. I grew up in Jackson and am grateful to be able to serve my hometown from the sidelines and at our post.”
Some 400 miles north, Lt. Mark Giannunzio is also a familiar face in and on the field. The MSP Negaunee Post assistant post commander and Eighth District public information officer enforces the rules of the game as a high school and college football official, the latter for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“I started at the high school level to stay involved in athletics and make authentic connections in the community,” Giannunzio said. “It’s rewarding to help teach the game and share knowledge of the rules. I currently have a full 11-game schedule in the GLIAC Division II college conference, with high school games interspersed during the year.”
The correlation among coaching, officiating and policing translates.
“With my fellow troopers, I want to inspire, motivate and encourage to get the most out of them,” Gibbs said. “I take the same approach with my players to figure out what they need from me, as their designated leader, to be as successful as they can. In both capacities, I do the work alongside them. We do it together.”
This approach is especially important when tough times surface. Lieutenant Gibbs’ high school team experienced tragedy right before its first game when a player died in a car crash.
“We focused on adversity,” said Gibbs, who was in a unique position to talk from a police perspective too. “It’s a benefit to have that insight and background and share it with what they can control – make good decisions and wear your seatbelt.”
Lieutenant Gibbs incorporates his coworkers when he can, like during spring conditioning when fellow troopers join him and his players, helping all involved to make new connections and build strong bonds between the students and officers.
“One of the most important attributes in both careers is communication,” Giannunzio said. “Communication can make or break an official and a police officer. Much like selling a citation to a motorist, I need to be able to sell the penalty in a calm and professional manner. Demeanor and attitude go together on both the football field and when we are out patrolling in the Blue Goose.”
Treating everyone with dignity and respect is something Lieutenants Gibbs and Giannunzio commit to as members of a modern police agency and in their areas of expertise on the football field.
“Both roles afford so many opportunities to develop culture and cultivate teamwork,” Gibbs said. “The best part is watching others flourish and playing a part in their growth.”
PHOTOS (Top) Michigan State Police Lt. Tedric Gibbs, left, serves as an assistant football coach for the Jackson High varsity. (Middle) Lt. Mark Giannunzio officiates at the high school and college levels. (Below) Gibbs also coaches at Jackson Parkside Middle School. (Photos provided by the Michigan State Police.)