The Michigan High School Athletic Association is accepting registrations online or by mail for game officials for the 2022-23 school year, and is providing a pair of significant new benefits intended to attract new officials and bolster the number of current officials who work multiple sports.
The MHSAA annually receives registration by more than 9,000 officials, but dipped below 8,000 for 2020-21 as school sports navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021-22 school year saw a slight bounce back to 8,128 officials registered – an increase of two percent compared to the previous year – and officials who register for the upcoming school year will receive additional perks that will further boost the already high level of support provided to those serving MHSAA member schools.
Beginning this summer, all officials who register may sign up for up to two sports as part of that registration. Officials previously registered separately for each sport they wished to work, providing 13,896 sport registrations total in 2021-22 – or with every registered official signing up for approximately 1.7 sports on average.
Officials also will receive membership in the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), which comes with a variety of educational and training resources including a subscription to an MHSAA-branded “Referee” digital magazine, and the NASO’s Shield liability insurance that will provide $6 million in coverage for officials while they are working both MHSAA and non-MHSAA events. The previous MHSAA-provided liability coverage, while still substantial, covered those officials only during MHSAA events.
“We are excited about the potential of these new benefits to not only attract new officials, but drive growth of our officiating pool from within,” said MHSAA assistant director Brent Rice, who supervises the officials program. “We hope our current single-sport officials will take advantage of this opportunity and help us bolster our numbers in other sports. Add in the resources and insurance from NASO – the largest officials advocate in the world – and we hope this package attracts officials to join us and stay with us at a time when we are facing our greatest need for these indispensable contributors to school sports.”
For all new and returning officials, a $70 fee covers registration for up to two sports. Officials may register for additional sports at $16 per sport.
To avoid a $30 late fee, all fall sport registration applications must be received by Aug. 16, 2022. Winter sports registrations must be received by Nov. 11 to avoid the late fee, and spring sports registrations must be received by March 17, 2023.
Online registration can be accessed by clicking “Officials” on the home page of the MHSAA Website. More information about officials registration may be obtained by contacting the MHSAA by phone at (517) 332-5046 or by e-mail at [email protected].
There is an officials' registration test for first-time officials and officials who were not registered during the past school year, derived from the MHSAA Officials Guidebook. New officials and those who didn’t officiate during 2021-22 also must complete the online MHSAA Principles of Officiating course. Additional exams must be taken by those registering for football or basketball for the first time or those who were not registered for those sports during the previous school year. Links to the Officials Guidebook, Principles of Officiating presentation and the football and basketball mechanics manuals can be found by following the “New Officials” link on the Officials page of the MHSAA Website.
There also are opportunities to officiate for students at least 14 years old and in grades 9-12 through the MHSAA Legacy Program. Juniors and seniors may officiate subvarsity contests, while freshmen and sophomores may officiate contests at the middle school/junior high levels. Mentor officials will work events with Legacy participants to provide guidance and support. Find information on the Legacy Program by clicking “REGISTER NOW” on the Officials page of the MHSAA Website and following the “Legacy Official Information” link.
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 – Animal Interference - Listen
In golf – it’s common to hear about birdies, eagles, maybe even an albatross. Or in my case, a snowman. But what if an actual animal interferes with your ball while in play?
There are two kinds of interference.
The first involves a ball still in motion. If you are putting and a squirrel darts out and stops or redirects your putt, you simply get a do-over from the original spot.
Off the green, if a moving ball is stopped or re-directed, you play the ball from where it ultimately stops.
If your ball is stopped and a seagull picks it up and carries it off – you just replace the ball to its original spot and proceed.
It doesn’t happen often, but now you know how to deal with squirrels and seagulls … in addition to birdies and eagles.
(PHOTO by Gary Shook.)