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.
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 – Competitive Cheer Judges - Listen
There are a lot of moving parts to a competitive cheer competition, including safety judges.
For each competition there are a minimum of two safety judges and three panel judges. But what does each position do?
Safety judges are there for safety – as simple as that sounds. During competition, they are mobile, circling the mat identifying illegal skills, improper spotting techniques, time infractions, and anything else deemed unsafe. They also are counting the number of competitors and floor formations for each team.
Panel judges – and there are three of them – are scoring the round. Each round is made up of skills, floor formations, transition moves and stunts that all must be evaluated.
Both safety and panel judges can deduct points for errors in the routine.
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