LANSING – More than 500 Michigan officials, from beginners to veterans with decades of experience, gathered Saturday at the Lansing Center for “Officiate Michigan Day II” – an opportunity to learn and train with experts in the avocation and share their passion for playing an irreplaceable role in high school sports.
They were greeted by MHSAA Executive Director and past College World Series baseball umpire Mark Uyl, and sent forth at the conclusion by retired wrestling official James C. McCloughan, who received the Medal of Honor in 2017 for his military service in Vietnam as a combat medic with the U.S. Army.
In between, attendees took in multiple sport-specific training sessions. Lunchtime panels provided opportunities to learn and interact on a number of topics, from effective communication to training and mentoring new officials.
“I hope to get a lot of things from a lot of experienced officials,” said Lansing’s Ken Black Jr., a first-year official, as he prepared to dive into the day’s opportunities. “This is my first year doing it, and I want to digest everything they have to say and go from there.”
The first Officiate Michigan Day was conducted in July 2013 as part of the run-up to the National Association of Sports Officials conference in Grand Rapids. NASO will bring its conference back to Michigan in 2021, with Officiate Michigan Day III to be part of those festivities.
Below are a pair of videos from Saturday’s event. The first gives a few glances at what attendees experienced – including a session with recently-hired MHSAA coordinator of officials Brent Rice – and also includes comments from officials explaining why they made the trip.
The second video shows the final minute of McCloughan’s closing, where he salutes veterans in attendance and gives a special musical tribute.
Also, click to see more photos from our Officiate Michigan Day II gallery.
PHOTOS: (Top) Instructor Dave Uyl, far right, presents during Saturday’s Officiate Michigan Day II. (Middle) From left, Rachael Stringer, Margaret Domka, Jeff Servinski and Lamont Simpson explain “Climbing the Ladder” of the officiating ranks. (Photos by John Johnson.) VIDEOS by Jeremy Sampson (top) and John Johnson.
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.
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 Zone - Listen
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