Official Feedback

June 10, 2014

We receive much unsolicited comment about the performances of officials and the conduct of spectators. Here’s some of what the MHSAA does to actively solicit input from its key constituents.

Since 1956, the MHSAA has required member schools to provide numerical ratings of officials who work their contests. Since 1998, the system has also allowed schools to cite particular areas of perceived weakness; and doing so is required whenever a school provides a rating of “5” (worst) on the 1-to-5 scale.

There are many deficiencies in a system like this, including that it sometimes means that coaches or administrators are doing the rating, and some of them have never officiated and may not know the rules and mechanics as well as the officials. The rating can also be affected by whether the school won or lost.

Nevertheless, the system has value, not as a true evaluation of an official’s performance for any particular contest, but – when the ratings of all schools are combined over a three-year average – as a number that the official can use to understand his or her abilities relative to all other officials. And it’s a number the MHSAA can use, along with recommendations of local officials associations and assigners, when considering assignments to various levels of MHSAA tournaments.

It is also noteworthy that for 25 years, the MHSAA has used a reporting form allowed in some cases and required in others, whereby officials report unusual events to the MHSAA office immediately after contests. During a typical fall season, about 300 such reports will be filed; about 250 each winter season; about 200 each spring season. Any school which receives three or more negative reports over three seasons receives a letter of concern from the MHSAA and the school’s name is published in benchmarks; and any school that receives no such reports over three seasons receives a letter of praise.

In 2008-09, the MHSAA also began a program whereby officials could rate school sportsmanship. During the winter season of 2013-14, there were approximately 4,000 reports filed, including 2,400 in basketball. The Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan honors the best 100 schools where BCAM members are coaching.

Be the Referee: Lacrosse Foul in Critical Scoring Area

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

May 21, 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 – Lacrosse Foul in Critical Scoring Area - Listen

We are on the lacrosse field today when a foul is called on the defense inside the critical scoring area with 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter. As the free position is being set up, the game clock expires. What’s the call?

  • Disregard the clock and continue administering the free position and play will commence with a whistle?
  • Reset the game clock to 12 seconds and the free position will commence with a whistle?
  • The free position shall not be administered, and the third quarter is over?

If you said “do not administer the free position,” you are correct. The clock stops for fouls in the CSA in the last two minutes of the second and fourth quarters only – unless there is a 10-goal differential. If time runs out prior to the complete administration of a free position, then it shall not be administered.

Previous Editions

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