The Official View: The Next Generation

By Brent Rice
MHSAA Assistant Director

October 27, 2020

By Brent Rice
MHSAA Assistant Director

At a time when we continually hear about the aging population of our veteran officials, it is refreshing to have an entire varsity crew made up of officials under 30.

The MHSAA continues to push to recruit the next generation of officials. Current officials can do their part by signing up someone new each year … and of any age.

We kick of our October installment of “The Official View” with this photo of one of those up-and-coming crews.

Pictured above (left to right) are Nick Wallace, Joey Lapinski, Dan Dobrosielski, Nick Meyer, Zach Ferguson, Austin White and Kevin Klein.

It’s Official!

Postseason assignments: Officials in cross country, football, soccer, swim and volleyball are being notified of their postseason assignments. Especially during a year when it has been difficult to find officials to conduct our sports safely and fairly, we appreciate all of those who have been able to put on the uniforms for both the regular and postseason. For those who were not able to officiate this year, we understand; and we look forward to having you back as soon as we can get back to normal.

Meetings & exams: Rules meetings for winter sports have been released, and tournament exams will soon follow. Please make sure to mark Dec. 10 on your calendar as the date when winter postseason eligibility requirements are due for officials.

Guidelines: Officials for all sports can keep up-to-date on facial covering requirements by CLICKING HERE, and stay current on policies for your specific sport by going to the sport-specific officials page of the MHSAA website.

Know Your Rules

SWIMMING For an event requiring a forward start, a swimmer requests permission to start in the water.

Ruling: This is permissible. In order to remain legal though, the swimmer must enter the pool feet first.

It’s Your Call

Last month’s IYC involved a trick play with Team A players leaving the playing field. First this is a no goal, and each of the players that left without the permission of the official should receive a yellow card. However, since the cards occurred during a stoppage of play, and before the kick was made, Team A retains the corner kick when play resumes.

VOLLEYBALL The newest “It’s Your Call” comes from the volleyball court. Team A’s kill attempt is blocked back to its side of the net. As the ball is about to hit the floor, A13 lunges her leg out and kicks the ball in the air. Then, the libero instinctively kicks her leg out, doing the same. Finally, A3 makes a diving dig back to the other side of the net. The ball lands in, near Team B’s end line. What’s the call?

The Official View: What’s in a Uniform

Officials in most sports are identified by the style of their shirts. Soccer referees are well-known for wearing shirts in a variety of bright, stunning colors. For many years, baseball umpires were so closely identified with the color of their uniform tops, they were (and often still are) contemptibly referred to as “Blue.”

But perhaps there is no more iconic uniform shirt than the black and white stripes worn by officials in a number of sports over the last century. In fact, this easily recognizable pattern associated with referees has its origins in Michigan high school sports.

That’s right, the first reported occurrence of any official wearing stripes goes back to the 1921 Michigan high school basketball finals. That referee was Lloyd Olds, and he was a multi-sport official out of Ypsilanti. The idea came to him following an unfortunate incident in a college football game when the Arizona quarterback mistook Olds as a teammate and threw him the football. You see, the Arizona team wore white uniforms, and were very similar looking to Olds’ own officials uniform – consisting of black slacks and a white dress shirt with bow tie. It became apparent to him that officials should wear a uniform that distinguished them from the teams.

When Olds returned home, he sat down with friend and sporting goods store owner, Greg Moe, to design the first black-and-white striped uniform. He decided to pull the uniform shirt out of the closet for the final game of the high school basketball postseason, and soon began wearing it when he worked both basketball and football. 

This new outfit quickly caught on at both the high school and college levels, and it wasn’t long before this became the norm around the world and across all levels. While officials’ uniforms regularly change these days, some form of stripes will likely be around forever – and it all started with a Michigan high school official.

If you have an interesting story or an official you’d like to see promoted, send details and pictures to [email protected].

2024-25 MHSAA Officials Registration Underway

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

June 17, 2024

The MHSAA is accepting registrations online or by mail for game officials for the 2024-25 school year.

The MHSAA registered approximately 8,700 officials for the 2023-24 school year, an increase of nearly five percent over 2022-23 as the ranks continue to build back toward pre-COVID totals.

All officials who register may sign up for up to two sports as part of their registration. Officials also will receive membership in the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), which comes with a variety of educational and training resources and the NASO’s Shield liability insurance that will provide $6 million in coverage for officials while they are working both MHSAA and non-MHSAA events.

For new and returning officials, a $70 fee covers registration for up to two sports. Officials may register for additional sports at $16 per sport.

To avoid a $30 late fee, all fall sport registration applications must be received by Aug. 19, 2024. Winter sports registrations must be received by Nov. 18 to avoid the late fee, and spring sports registrations must be received by March 24, 2025.

Online registration can be accessed by clicking here. More information about officials registration may be obtained by contacting the MHSAA by phone at (517) 332-5046 or by e-mail at [email protected].

There is an officials' registration test for first-time officials and officials who were not registered during the past school year, derived from the MHSAA Officials Guidebook. New officials and those who didn’t officiate during 2023-24 also must complete the online MHSAA Principles of Officiating course. Additional exams must be taken by those registering for football or basketball for the first time or those who were not registered for those sports during the previous school year. Links to the Officials Guidebook, Principles of Officiating presentation and the football and basketball mechanics manuals can be found by following the “New Officials” link on the Officials page of the MHSAA Website.

There also are opportunities to officiate for students at least 14 years old and in grades 9-12 through the MHSAA Legacy Program. Juniors and seniors may officiate subvarsity contests, while freshmen and sophomores may officiate contests at the middle school/junior high levels. Mentor officials will work events with Legacy participants to provide guidance and support. Find information on the Legacy Program by clicking here.