The Official View: It's In Our Blood

By Brent Rice
MHSAA Assistant Director

September 10, 2019

Some have said that officiating has to be in your blood.

The avocation runs through the veins of nearly 10,000 officials in this state, and “The Official View” returns this week not only to inform those valuable contributors to school sports, but also to provide an inside look at some of the people wearing the stripes – including a daughter who has followed her dad onto the court.

It’s Official!

The MHSAA Officials Guidebook is the main source for rules and regulations and policies and procedures to which MHSAA Registered Officials are to adhere. For the first time in several years, the document has been updated and revised for clarification and the removal of redundancies. It also has a new look and format that will hopefully make it easier for officials to read and review. The updated Guidebook can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Officials Bulletins for the fall season have started. Check out your specific officials sports page for this and more. You can find documents, helpful links and sport-specific information. CLICK HERE.

Rule of the Week

VOLLEYBALL After the first set comes to a close, the coach approaches the officials’ table and removes the lineup sheet to prepare the lineup for the next set.

Ruling: This move is legal … between sets. However, the lineup sheet, along with the roster sheet, must remain at the officials’ table throughout each set.

It’s Your Call

FOOTBALL This week’s clip questions the legality of a block. In the video, No. 64 in white immediately at the snap cut blocks No. 54 in blue.

Is this a legal block? What’s the call?

Official View: A Family Tradition

Interested in getting a job before she headed off to college, Frankenmuth native Megan Jarlock noticed it was difficult to find one that fit around her busy schedule and that could give her the level of saving (or spending) money she sought.

She started officiating at the suggestion of her dad, Mark, who has served as an MHSAA official for nearly 20 years himself. Mark informed Megan she could make twice as much per hour officiating as she could working in traditional college-student jobs, and she could determine for herself what games she did and didn’t want to accept.

Besides the side cash and schedule convenience, officiating provides Megan additional benefits as well. Megan is able to remain around sports she loves, stay active and keep healthy and happy. She officiates volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter, and has even done some softball in the spring. The most important thing, though, is that she gets to officiate with her dad.

“I am also very lucky to have my dad by my side to help me learn and grow as an official and a person,” says Megan.

One of the best parts of working with her dad is the car rides, where they have a chance to catch up on each other’s busy lives. And like a lot of mentor officials, Mark often takes his daughter out to dinner after the game to discuss things she did well and areas she can improve. She is grateful for the ability to share time with her dad, both doing what they love.

Of her dad and experience, Megan said, “He is a great sports official, but an even better father and role model. I’m really enjoying being an official, and these are the moments with my family that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

PHOTO: Megan Jarlock and her dad, Mark, prepare to work an MHSAA contest. (Photo provided by the Jarlock family.)

Connections: Novara Success Stretches Across State, Official Offers Encouragement

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

December 8, 2023

Separated by 527 travel miles – whether over Mackinac Bridge or around Lake Michigan, the Novara family celebrated nearly parallel football successes this fall.

At Portland, John Novara completed his 25th season as head coach leading the Raiders to a 12-1 record – their best since finishing Division 5 runner-up in 2018, and a second-straight Capital Area Activities Conference White championship on the way to reaching the Division 4 Semifinals.

At Kingsford, fifth-year coach Mark Novara led the Flivvers to a 10-2 record – their best since posting the same in 2004. Kingsford shared the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference Copper title and won a Division 5 District title, its first District championship since 2009.

John Novara graduated from Iron Mountain in 1989, and younger brother Mark graduated from Kingsford in 1993.

Similarly parallel, both teams were quarterbacked by Novaras. Dominic Novara directed the Raiders’ attack, and cousin Nic Novara led the Flivvers. Both are juniors. (Mark Novara was a Division III All-American at quarterback at Lakeland College in Wisconsin.)

One more connection: Portland athletic director Kevin Veale quarterbacked the Iron Mountain teams with John Novara as tight end long before they worked together downstate. Veale’s nephew Garrett Veale was a standout two-way lineman for Mark Novara and Kingsford this fall.

Small gesture, memorable connection

Dante DeGrazia’s senior season was sadly short-lived this fall, as he suffered a season-ending injury during the first half of South Lyon East’s opening game against White Lake Lakeland at Michigan Stadium.

South Lyon East's Dante DeGrazia (33) and official Chris Curtis meet for a quick hug during East's Week 5 game.But an official provided a memory the DeGrazias will not forget.

Chris Curtis had begun his 16th season as an official earlier that day at U-M, and stuck around to watch the Lakes Valley Conference matchup. A month later, he was officiating the East/Warren Mott game, and made sure to check in with DeGrazia – a small gesture, but a meaningful one as well and another reminder of the interconnectedness of communities within educational athletics.

When he heard my son wasn't able to play anymore, needed surgery and that he was a senior, he offered him kindness and a hug on the field,” Dante’s mother Dana DeGrazia wrote to East athletic director Greg Michaels. “As a parent whose son is going through a rough time dealing with losing his senior season, hearing this story from Dante means a lot to me and the support that was given to him and I wanted to reach out and tell him thank you.”

PHOTOS (Top) Kingsford football coach Mark Novara, far left, quarterback Nic Novara and Portland coach (and uncle) John Novara celebrate the Flivvers' District title. (Middle) South Lyon East's Dante DeGrazia (33) and official Chris Curtis meet for a quick hug during East's Week 5 game. (Photos courtesy of the Portland football program and DeGrazia family, respectively.)