Be the Referee: No 1st-Year Fee

October 12, 2017

In this week's edition, assistant director Mark Uyl explains the minimal costs of becoming an official and how the MHSAA further helps those signing up for the first time by the waiving registration fee.

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 – No 1st-Year Fee - Listen

We often get asked the question – exactly how much does it cost to become an official?

The first step in the process includes registering with the MHSAA, which costs roughly $50. With this $50, an official gets rules books, case books, mechanics manuals and over $1 million in liability insurance coverage.

For anyone registering for the first time, the MHSAA waives that fee in the first year. With someone who is new to officiating, the cost of purchasing a uniform, equipment, and attending some camps and clinics are going to be first-year expenditures – which is why that first year is free on the MHSAA.

Past editions
October 5: Athletic Empty Nesters - Listen
September 28: Misunderstood Football Rules: Kicking - Listen
September 21: Preparation for Officials - Listen
September 14: Always Stay Registered - Listen
September 7: Other Football Rules Changes - Listen
August 31: Pop-Up Onside Kicks - Listen
August 24: Blindside Blocks - Listen

Connections: Novara Success Stretches Across State, Official Offers Encouragement

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

December 8, 2023

Separated by 527 travel miles – whether over Mackinac Bridge or around Lake Michigan, the Novara family celebrated nearly parallel football successes this fall.

At Portland, John Novara completed his 25th season as head coach leading the Raiders to a 12-1 record – their best since finishing Division 5 runner-up in 2018, and a second-straight Capital Area Activities Conference White championship on the way to reaching the Division 4 Semifinals.

At Kingsford, fifth-year coach Mark Novara led the Flivvers to a 10-2 record – their best since posting the same in 2004. Kingsford shared the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper title and won a Division 5 District title, its first District championship since 2009.

John Novara graduated from Iron Mountain in 1989, and younger brother Mark graduated from Kingsford in 1993.

Similarly parallel, both teams were quarterbacked by Novaras. Dominic Novara directed the Raiders’ attack, and cousin Nic Novara led the Flivvers. Both are juniors. (Mark Novara was a Division III All-American at quarterback at Lakeland College in Wisconsin.)

One more connection: Portland athletic director Kevin Veale quarterbacked the Iron Mountain teams with John Novara as tight end long before they worked together downstate. Veale’s nephew Garrett Veale was a standout two-way lineman for Mark Novara and Kingsford this fall.

Small gesture, memorable connection

Dante DeGrazia’s senior season was sadly short-lived this fall, as he suffered a season-ending injury during the first half of South Lyon East’s opening game against White Lake Lakeland at Michigan Stadium.

South Lyon East's Dante DeGrazia (33) and official Chris Curtis meet for a quick hug during East's Week 5 game.But an official provided a memory the DeGrazias will not forget.

Chris Curtis had begun his 16th season as an official earlier that day at U-M, and stuck around to watch the Lakes Valley Conference matchup. A month later, he was officiating the East/Warren Mott game, and made sure to check in with DeGrazia – a small gesture, but a meaningful one as well and another reminder of the interconnectedness of communities within educational athletics.

When he heard my son wasn't able to play anymore, needed surgery and that he was a senior, he offered him kindness and a hug on the field,” Dante’s mother Dana DeGrazia wrote to East athletic director Greg Michaels. “As a parent whose son is going through a rough time dealing with losing his senior season, hearing this story from Dante means a lot to me and the support that was given to him and I wanted to reach out and tell him thank you.”

PHOTOS (Top) Kingsford football coach Mark Novara, far left, quarterback Nic Novara and Portland coach (and uncle) John Novara celebrate the Flivvers' District title. (Middle) South Lyon East's Dante DeGrazia (33) and official Chris Curtis meet for a quick hug during East's Week 5 game. (Photos courtesy of the Portland football program and DeGrazia family, respectively.)