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: Officials Registration

By Sam Davis
MHSAA Officials Coordinator

May 30, 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 – Officials Registration - Listen

We talk a lot about the need for registered officials. But how do you sign up? What does it take to become a referee, umpire, or judge?

The steps are simple. Go to MHSAA.com to the Officials Tab, and identify the sport or sports you are interested in. Next, complete the MHSAA Principals of Officiating and the Officials Guidebook exams.

The Officials Guidebook covers basic elements and procedures for becoming a sports official. This first step of the process covers playing rules, ejection protocols, game assignments, and payment of game fees.

Once you pass the exams, it’s time to connect with a locally-approved officials association. The local associations are the ones that provide the training – whether it’s on the court, on the field, on the mats, or video training – to get that person completely immersed in the rules, mechanics, and coverages of what it takes to become a good official.

Previous Editions:

May 23: Soccer Offsides or Goal? - Listen
May 16: Track & Field Exchange Zones - Listen
May 9: Girls Lacrosse Self-Start - Listen
May 2: Baseball/Softball Overthrow - Listen
April 25: Fifth-Quarter/Third-Half Rule - Listen
April 18: Soccer Referee in Play? - Listen
April 11: Softball Strikeout - Listen
March 14: Basketball Instant Replay - Listen
March 7: Hockey Overtime - Listen
Feb. 28: Baker Bowling - Listen
Feb. 21: Ski Finish - Listen
Feb. 14: Swimming Touchpads - Listen
Feb. 7: In or Out-of-Bounds in Wrestling - Listen
Jan. 31: Over the Back - Listen
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

PHOTO: Officers confer during a soccer match early this season. (Photo by Chris Mudd/National Photo Scout.)