The Official View: All in This Together

By Brent Rice
MHSAA Assistant Director

November 5, 2018

“The Official View” has received significant positive feedback, from both officials and non-officials – and we thank you for your interest in learning more about this essential avocation.

This week, we discuss a promising effort to recruit Legacy officials and another “get-to-know-you” opportunity at MHSAA Sportsmanship Summits, plus dive into rules scenarios in volleyball and swimming.

It’s Official!

MHSAA officials will be presenting over the coming weeks at the annual Sportsmanship Summits held around the state. Renewed focus will be concentrated on the effect that poor sportsmanship has on the challenge of recruiting and retaining officials. Discussions will be led by noted officials in those areas to allow students to discuss the concerns and solutions to these issues.

Improving sportsmanship is a priority of the MHSAA Officials Program, and officials should be looking for new initiatives to support this goal. They include new policies on protecting officials, providing schools with framework to institute a Game Day Ambassadors Program, “Official Thanks” nights and several others.

Some efforts already have proven successful. “The Official View” continues to serve its purpose in humanizing the folks that officiate MHSAA contests. On that note, keep sending those photos and stories to [email protected] for features in The Official View. Ideally, submissions will be for in-season sports and include photo(s). Don’t forget to add the who, what, where, and when.

Rule of the Week

VOLLEYBALL As A1 tosses the ball in the air to serve, she realizes she is the improper server and catches the ball in attempt to force a re-serve. The proper server (A2) then immediately takes her place and makes a legal serve, scoring a point. A2’s toss for her second serve is bad and she catches the ball.

Ruling: This is an illegal serve and loss of rally/point. The re-serve privilege was used up by A1 since this was during A2’s term of service.

It’s Your Call

SWIMMING In the clip, the swimmer in Lane 5 begins to stray in her backstroke and ends up incidentally contacting the lane divider. She ultimately continues and wins the race. What’s the call?

Last Week’s IYC Ruling: In the clip, as the attacker and the keeper approach the ball, the attacker strikes the keeper’s ear. Since this is outside of the penalty area, a direct free kick would be awarded and the attacker would be assessed a yellow card. (Click to see last week's video.)

Official View: We’re All in This Together

The MHSAA Legacy Program has produced some terrific officials since its inception in 1992, many of whom are still officials today. We feel that recruiting eager and qualified officials is a collective partnership between the MHSAA, schools and officials associations around the state.

For our part, the MHSAA offers a reduced registration fee for enrolled-student officials to get them started into officiating. We suggest that the schools and associations further alleviate these new officials from their startup costs by taking on this reduced fee. Schools benefit because they can then utilize these officials’ services at middle school and junior high school contests, and associations benefit because they are able to add a new official to their rosters for years to come.

Fowlerville has taking the lead in this area by recently hosting a Legacy clinic where veteran officials were paired with newly registered (paid for by Fowlerville Schools) Legacy officials and assigned to a volleyball match with local middle school Red Cedar League teams. This event allowed experienced mentor officials to provide on-the-spot constructive feedback in live game scenarios.

Other schools are following suit by hosting clinics and other events to draw new officials into the fold, including adding curriculum in officiating to next year’s course load. Schools interested in adding officiating to their curriculum can contact Brent Rice of the MHSAA for a curriculum outline and guides to make it a success.

PHOTOS: (Top) Fowlerville Legacy officials and mentors work a recent middle school volleyball match; left to right: John Garrison, Kelli Hart, Lindsey Darby, Jackie Jarvis, Dalaija Franklin, Rodney Horton and Tyler Hover. (Middle) Hart (mentor) instructs Franklin, far right, while Darby shadows. (Photos courtesy of the Fowlerville athletic department.)

From MSP Post to Postgame: Lieutenants Return to the (Football) Field

September 27, 2023

While fans are settling into another season, Michigan State Police Lt. Tedric Gibbs has been fully immersed in football for months.

The Jackson Post’s assistant post commander serves as assistant coach for Jackson High School’s varsity football team and for the team at Parkside Middle School.

“I started coaching when my older son was in youth sports, as a way to do something together that we both love,” Gibbs said. “My younger son followed the same path, so I joined his team too. I grew up in Jackson and am grateful to be able to serve my hometown from the sidelines and at our post.”

Lt. Mark Giannunzio officiates at the high school and college levels.Some 400 miles north, Lt. Mark Giannunzio is also a familiar face in and on the field. The MSP Negaunee Post assistant post commander and Eighth District public information officer enforces the rules of the game as a high school and college football official, the latter for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“I started at the high school level to stay involved in athletics and make authentic connections in the community,” Giannunzio said. “It’s rewarding to help teach the game and share knowledge of the rules. I currently have a full 11-game schedule in the GLIAC Division II college conference, with high school games interspersed during the year.”

The correlation among coaching, officiating and policing translates.

“With my fellow troopers, I want to inspire, motivate and encourage to get the most out of them,” Gibbs said. “I take the same approach with my players to figure out what they need from me, as their designated leader, to be as successful as they can. In both capacities, I do the work alongside them. We do it together.”

This approach is especially important when tough times surface. Lieutenant Gibbs’ high school team experienced tragedy right before its first game when a player died in a car crash.

“We focused on adversity,” said Gibbs, who was in a unique position to talk from a police perspective too. “It’s a benefit to have that insight and background and share it with what they can control – make good decisions and wear your seatbelt.”

Lieutenant Gibbs incorporates his coworkers when he can, like during spring conditioning when fellow troopers join him and his players, helping all involved to make new connections and build strong bonds between the students and officers.

Gibbs also coaches at Jackson Parkside Middle School.“One of the most important attributes in both careers is communication,” Giannunzio said. “Communication can make or break an official and a police officer. Much like selling a citation to a motorist, I need to be able to sell the penalty in a calm and professional manner. Demeanor and attitude go together on both the football field and when we are out patrolling in the Blue Goose.”

Treating everyone with dignity and respect is something Lieutenants Gibbs and Giannunzio commit to as members of a modern police agency and in their areas of expertise on the football field.

“Both roles afford so many opportunities to develop culture and cultivate teamwork,” Gibbs said. “The best part is watching others flourish and playing a part in their growth.”

PHOTOS (Top) Michigan State Police Lt. Tedric Gibbs, left, serves as an assistant football coach for the Jackson High varsity. (Middle) Lt. Mark Giannunzio officiates at the high school and college levels. (Below) Gibbs also coaches at Jackson Parkside Middle School. (Photos provided by the Michigan State Police.)