Risks & Rewards

May 7, 2012

When my terrific son was a college student, I suggested he get into sports officiating.  You know, to earn some money, stay involved in sports, keep in shape.  His response was “No.  It’s not worth the hassle.”  He didn’t want to subject himself to being criticized, heckled and second-guessed; and I couldn’t blame him.

Which told me then (and I’m reminded often) that sports officials are risk-takers.  Men and women willing to step out and step up.

The best officials make the toughest calls at the tightest times in the competition.  They’re risk-takers in ways mere spectators are not.

And in this so-called “modern world,” where people can sit comfortably at home and comment irritably on everything, and fans can text, tweet and transmit videos instantly, it has never taken more courage to be a sports official than it does today.

Tomorrow evening, for the 33rd consecutive year, the MHSAA hosts a banquet that honors our most veteran MHSAA registered officials.  Officials who have reached the 20-, 30-, 40-, 45- and 50-year service milestones will be recognized; and Rockford’s Lyle Berry will receive the Vern L. Norris Award for a lifetime of grassroots contributions to high school sports officiating in Michigan.

It is one of the rare occasions when we ask officials, referees and judges to step out of the background and into the spotlight.  Without any risk.

Be the Referee: 11-Player Football Finals Replay

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

November 21, 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 – Football Finals Replay - Listen

For the second consecutive season, coaches will have the ability to challenge plays during the 11-Player Football Finals. All potential scoring and turnover plays will continue to be automatically reviewed.

But again this year, coaches will be allowed to challenge one play per regulation and one in overtime, with some restrictions.

First, a team must have a timeout available and call it to initiate a review.

Second, there are a limited number of items that can be reviewed. Those include catch or no catch. Ball carrier in or out of bounds. Forward or backward pass. And a handful of others.

If successful, the coach will be given back the timeout.

In overtime, coaches can challenge once, no matter how many overtime periods are played – and only if they have a timeout.

Previous Editions

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