Membership Mentality

September 16, 2014

The Michigan High School Athletic Association is a membership organization – an association of schools, not individuals – that usually doesn’t think of itself as such. Most member-based organizations work hard to recruit and retain members because member dues are an important revenue source.
That’s not true for the MHSAA which charges no membership dues, no sport sponsorship assessments and no tournament entry fees. The MHSAA is free to join and its tournaments are free to enter.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think like a member-based organization or that none of the dynamics of membership-based organizations apply here.
For example, we are in the business of recruiting and retaining contest officials; and while we registered approximately 10,600 officials last year, that number is significantly lower than six years ago, and the average age is increasing. So, like any other member-based organization, we need strategies for attracting and holding new, young officials.
A new tactic launched this fall is the “Be The Referee” feature (Click Here) on a Lansing-based sports talk daily radio show and weekly television show. Our staff explains rules and points of emphasis, and then we make a pitch for new officials.
But the most fundamental strategy for recruiting and retaining officials is consistent, ceaseless efforts to improve officials’ working environment. This means improving the assigner-official relationship before events and the sportsmanship at events.
Ultimately, if assigners treat new officials unprofessionally and spectators treat them abusively, we have no chance to increase the numbers and decrease the age of MHSAA registered officials.

Be the Referee: Over the Back

By Sam Davis
MHSAA Officials Coordinator

January 31, 2023

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 – Over the Back - Listen

Did you know there is no such thing as “over the back” in basketball? If two players are going for a rebound and the player behind another player is able to grab it over the top of the player in front – that’s not necessarily a foul. He or she did not go over the back.

The player behind another player may have committed a foul such as bumping the player in front, or pushing that player – gaining an advantage to grab the rebound – but that would be whistled for a push or grab. Not over the back.

A taller player or player who can jump higher grabbing a rebound is not a foul. It’s only a foul if they create an advantage by pushing, bumping, or any other kind of illegal contact while in the process of going for a rebound. Fans yell over the back all the time, but an official will never call a foul for going over the back.

Previous Editions:

Jan. 24: Competitive Cheer Judges - Listen
Jan. 17: More Lines - Listen
Jan. 10: On the Line - Listen
Jan. 3: Basketball Measurements - Listen
Dec. 13: Pregame Dunks - Listen
Dec. 6: Gymnastics Judges - Listen
Nov. 22: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 15: Back Row Illegal Blocker - Listen
Nov. 8: Swim Turn Judges - Listen
Nov. 1: Soccer Referee Jersey Colors - Listen
Oct. 25: Cross Country Tie-Breaker - Listen
Oct. 18: Soccer Shootouts - Listen
Oct. 11: Safety in End ZoneListen
Oct. 4: Football Overtime Penalty - Listen
Sept. 27: Kickoff Goal - Listen
Sept. 20: Soccer Timing - Listen
Sept. 13: Volleyball Replays - Listen
Sept. 6: Switching Sides - Listen
Aug. 30: Play Clock - Listen
Aug. 23: Intentional Grounding Change
- Listen