Fruit Belt 'Interacts' to Recruit Officials

August 27, 2014

By Rob Kaminski
MHSAA benchmarks editor

The MHSAA always is seeking creative ideas for recruiting some of the most important people in high school athletics – officials to preside over the games. 

The Fruit Belt Officials Association once again hosted an interactive recruitment booth at the Berrien County Youth Fair, staffed by volunteers from the membership.

Freddy Krieger, who coordinated the project for the FBOA, says the outreach effort enabled the group to connect with people outside the athletic community who otherwise likely wouldn’t have known the organization existed.

“There are a lot of people in our area who said, ‘I always wanted to (officiate), but I didn’t know how to start,’” he said. “I heard it from people when I manned the booth myself.”

A longtime basketball official, Krieger, who has also worked soccer and baseball, believes it’s vital that officials associations actively search for new members, rather than waiting for prospects to come to them.

“The average age of officials in the state of Michigan is 48,” he says. “There are a number of us in the association who say, ‘We’ve got to replace ourselves.’”

The display includes flat screen TV monitors with video loop of games in a variety of sports, “Ask the Official” opportunities for the public to find answers to their rules questions, FBOA and MHSAA logos, and an “interest box” where prospective officials can leave contact information.

The booth attracted 43 individuals who totaled 71 officiating preferences in six sports. Krieger reported that a year ago the booth cultivated 108 prospective officials – 23 interested for basketball, 22 baseball, 17 softball, 16 football, 13 volleyball, seven wrestling and 10 soccer prospects.

All prospects are invited to the FBOA general meeting in September, and contact information is forwarded to sport-specific trainers and contact people who diligently follow up to involve them in orientation, training, and integration as officials in various sports.

Individuals from previous years also are re-invited.

“Sometimes it takes a year or two – or even three – to get someone to make the kind of commitment it takes to become integrated into our avocation and submit to the required training,” Krieger said.

2024-25 MHSAA Officials Registration Underway

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

June 17, 2024

The MHSAA is accepting registrations online or by mail for game officials for the 2024-25 school year.

The MHSAA registered approximately 8,700 officials for the 2023-24 school year, an increase of nearly five percent over 2022-23 as the ranks continue to build back toward pre-COVID totals.

All officials who register may sign up for up to two sports as part of their registration. Officials also will receive membership in the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), which comes with a variety of educational and training resources 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.

For 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. 19, 2024. Winter sports registrations must be received by Nov. 18 to avoid the late fee, and spring sports registrations must be received by March 24, 2025.

Online registration can be accessed by clicking here. 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 2023-24 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 here.