A Narrower Scope to Target New Officials

October 12, 2012

By Rob Kaminski
MHSAA benchmarks editor

Several years ago, MHSAA schools received thousands of postcards imploring graduating student-athletes to “Stay in the Game” by registering as contest officials.

A miniscule portion of that quantity found its way back to 1661 Ramblewood Drive. It’s a better bet you are reading this issue of benchmarks on the rest, in the form of recycled paper.

The plan for 2012-13, then, was to move away from the mass marketing approach and narrow the scope with the help of school administrators. Each MHSAA member school athletic director was sent a memo last May, along with two registration invitations. The memo simply asked the ADs to identify two officiating candidates from the senior class and deliver the special registration form. Completed forms were returned to the MHSAA, which not only waived all sign-up fees for the student’s first year, but also set the rookies up with local associations and training opportunities.

“We took this approach as a more measured strategy knowing that officiating is not for everyone,” said MHSAA Assistant Director Mark Uyl. “Instead of marketing to everyone, we hoped that ADs would give serious time and thought in selecting two graduating seniors who seemed best equipped in terms of personality and comportment for officiating.”

Uyl set a modest goal of attracting 50 new officials through this program, and the Association is nearly halfway there at this printing, as 22 young men and women will make their first calls during the 2012-13 season.

Or, at least their first calls at the high school level. One of the “rookies” is Jake Hodges, who co-captained Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett to the 2012 MHSAA Division 3 Ice Hockey title.

“I have been a USA Hockey ref for six years, and I plan to continue in college. It is good income,” said Hodges, who  also plans to work lacrosse. “I had planned to register anyway so the free registration was great. I expect to work often and continue to be a solid ref.  I also played lacrosse for four years and think that will allow for a good transition.”

The process has culled candidates from Michigan’s cities, suburbs and rural areas, from below and above the Mackinac Bridge.

“I have always been interested in officiating. The biggest incentive was the free registration,” said Negaunee’s Kevin Price, who registered in baseball, softball and basketball. “I hope this year will be a learning experience as I work games with long-time officials. As a player, I got to know many officials and we have become friends. The local officials in my area have done a great job giving me advice on my upcoming ‘rookie’ season.”

Many students registered for more than one sport, with a high of seven sports for Montrel Hill of Melvindale.

Early returns give Uyl and the MHSAA reason for optimism.

“We will continue this incentive plan again next year as we try to grow the pool of new, young officials,” Uyl said.

PHOTO: Jake Hodges (center) hoists the MHSAA Division 3 championship trophy after his Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett team claimed the title in March. 

NOTE: This is the third installment in the series "Making – and Answering – the Call" detailing the careers and service of MHSAA officials. Click the links below to view the two. 

Be the Referee: Appeal Play

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

May 29, 2024

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 – Appeal Play - Listen

We’re on the diamond, and we’ve got the bases loaded with one out. The batter hits a fly ball, and all three runners take off. The fly ball is caught for out number two. The fielder throws to first base for out number three – which is technically an appeal play, not a force out, with the runner leaving early. But before that out is recorded, the runner who left third base early crosses the plate.

Does that run count?

It depends!

If the defense appeals to third base before leaving the field of play, they would be awarded a fourth out, and the run would not count.

But if they fail to appeal, or if they all run to the dugout before realizing an appeal is needed, then yes, the run would count – even though the runner failed to tag up.

Previous Editions

May 21: Lacrosse Foul in Critical Scoring Area - Listen
May 14: Avoiding the Tag - Listen
May 7: Baseball Pitch Count - Listen
April 30: Boys Lacrosse Helmets - Listen
April 23: Softball Interference - Listen
April 16: Soccer Red Card - Listen
April 9: Batted Baseball Hits Runner - Listen
March 12: Basketball Replay - Listen
March 5: Hockey Officials - Listen
Feb. 27: Less Than 5 - Listen
Feb. 20: Air Ball - Listen
Feb. 13: Hockey Penalties - Listen
Jan. 30: Wrestling Tiebreakers - Listen
Jan. 23: Wrestling Technology - Listen
Jan. 9: 3 Seconds - Listen
Dec. 19: Unsuspecting Hockey Hits - Listen
Dec. 12: No More One-And-Ones - Listen
Nov. 21: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 14: Volleyball Unplayable Areas - Listen
Nov. 7: Pass/Kick Off Crossbar - Listen
Oct. 31: Cross Country Interference - Listen
Oct. 24: Soccer Overtime - Listen
Oct. 17: Tennis Spin - Listen
Oct. 10: Blocked Kick - Listen
Oct. 3: Volleyball Double & Lift - Listen
Sept. 26: Registration Process - Listen
Sept. 20: Animal Interference - Listen
Sept. 13: Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
Sept. 6: Volleyball Jewelry - Listen
Aug. 30: Football Rules Similarities - Listen
Aug. 23: Football Rules Differences - Listen

(Photo by Gary Shook.)