Official Treatment

March 7, 2014

A book I quoted in this space three times last November – How: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything by Dov Seidman – has me thinking about sports officiating.

One premise of the book is that the Internet era has made the world so transparent and connected that there is no such thing anymore as “private” behavior or a “minor” mistake. Everything can become a public matter – instantly. Anything can become a major problem – overnight. Worldwide.

So, when our local real estate agent, who officiates junior varsity basketball, misses a call that an invested spectator captures with his or her smart phone camera, and sends to his or her relatives and a local media outlet that night, there is no limit to where that video could appear by the next morning.

And while major college and professional officials may now receive four-figure fees to work under those conditions, officials at the junior high/middle school and high school levels – sometimes working for little more than gas money - wonder if it’s worth the hassle. 

There are many obstacles to recruiting and retaining officials for school sports, including poor business practices by assigners and bad sportsmanship by coaches and spectators; but a significant factor not to be overlooked is the adverse potential of immediate worldwide criticism for a call that had to be made in the blink of an eye.

The human factor of sports is now subject to inhuman expectations. In an enterprise that strives for fairness, it appears that it’s the official who is being treated least fairly.

Be the Referee: Lacrosse Foul in Critical Scoring Area

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

May 21, 2024

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 – Lacrosse Foul in Critical Scoring Area - Listen

We are on the lacrosse field today when a foul is called on the defense inside the critical scoring area with 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter. As the free position is being set up, the game clock expires. What’s the call?

  • Disregard the clock and continue administering the free position and play will commence with a whistle?
  • Reset the game clock to 12 seconds and the free position will commence with a whistle?
  • The free position shall not be administered, and the third quarter is over?

If you said “do not administer the free position,” you are correct. The clock stops for fouls in the CSA in the last two minutes of the second and fourth quarters only – unless there is a 10-goal differential. If time runs out prior to the complete administration of a free position, then it shall not be administered.

Previous Editions

May 14: Avoiding the Tag - Listen
May 7: Baseball Pitch Count - Listen
April 30: Boys Lacrosse Helmets - Listen
April 23: Softball Interference - Listen
April 16: Soccer Red Card - Listen
April 9: Batted Baseball Hits Runner - Listen
March 12: Basketball Replay - Listen
March 5: Hockey Officials - Listen
Feb. 27: Less Than 5 - Listen
Feb. 20: Air Ball - Listen
Feb. 13: Hockey Penalties - Listen
Jan. 30: Wrestling Tiebreakers - Listen
Jan. 23: Wrestling Technology - Listen
Jan. 9: 3 Seconds - Listen
Dec. 19: Unsuspecting Hockey Hits - Listen
Dec. 12: No More One-And-Ones - Listen
Nov. 21: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 14: Volleyball Unplayable Areas - Listen
Nov. 7: Pass/Kick Off Crossbar - Listen
Oct. 31: Cross Country Interference - Listen
Oct. 24: Soccer Overtime - Listen
Oct. 17: Tennis Spin - Listen
Oct. 10: Blocked Kick - Listen
Oct. 3: Volleyball Double & Lift - Listen
Sept. 26: Registration Process - Listen
Sept. 20: Animal Interference - Listen
Sept. 13: Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
Sept. 6: Volleyball Jewelry - Listen
Aug. 30: Football Rules Similarities - Listen
Aug. 23: Football Rules Differences - Listen