The Official View: A Shining Example

By Brent Rice
MHSAA Assistant Director

October 15, 2018

By Brent Rice
MHSAA Assistant Director

This week we honor our first “Official of the Month” – Rockford’s Lyle Berry – and offer a reminder on postseason invitations while also taking a look at a few situations officials may encounter in volleyball and football.

It’s Official!

Postseason tournament officiating invitations have been released in all of our fall sports. Make sure if you were selected to get your acceptance/declination confirmations in as soon as possible. If we fail to receive an acceptance for the position, we will have to remove your name from the consideration list for this season.

Rule of the Week

VOLLEYBALL Team R’s first contact is an overpass that lands on top of the net and settles briefly. Team R’s backrow setter, while still standing on the floor, reaches up and taps the ball to the floor on Team S’s side of the court.

Ruling: Back-row attack, point for Team S.

It’s Your Call

FOOTBALL The old Swinging Gate. There are a number of fouls on this play. Which do you see?

Last Week’s IYC Ruling: Player #4 in white commits two fouls on the play. First, he make an illegal block below the waist in order to take out the lead block by the pulling guard. Then, as the running back scrambles to look for more yards, #4 returns to the pile and makes illegal helmet contact (spearing) with the runner. Both are live ball fouls with 15-yard penalties. They both occur at about the 22-yard line where the run ends, so either could be accepted/declined for the same result. (Click to see the video from last week.)

The Official View - Official of the Month

October: Lyle Berry, Rockford

After 59 years as an MHSAA registered official, Lyle Berry says his time wearing the emblem is winding down. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” his wife regularly reminds him.

Even though Lyle hasn’t been on the hardwood serving as a basketball referee since 1988, he has remained a staple in cross country and track & field meets across the state. The 2012 Vern Norris Award winner, Berry has been honored by serving as an official in 17 MHSAA Finals.

“If you’ve never stood at the finish line to watch two athletes give everything within themselves to be the first to cross, you have missed the boat,” said Berry as he provided his best example of the ABC-coined phrase, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

It’s working with young people that has kept him coming back year after year. And not just the competitors – Lyle has had the privilege of starting many officials on their way and enjoyed the thrill of seeing them grow and succeed.

But for all of his officiating accomplishments, they don’t compare to that spring day in 1959 when he married the love of his life, Vonna.

Prior to getting married, Lyle was a seven-time letter earner in three sports while attending Grand Rapids Central High before attending Grand Rapids Junior College. He was the first at that school to earn four letters in one year before moving on to Central Michigan University, where he played baseball. Together, Lyle and Vonna raised three sons who all proved to be good athletes as well. He served as a teacher and coach at four schools until his retirement in 1991. Through it all, Vonna has been at Lyle’s side, encouraging him to reach for his goals in athletics and officiating.

He got his start in officiating by serving in the college intramural program. He learned quickly that it wasn’t easy as he had imagined during his early days of playing sports. He credits his longevity to his love of sports and remaining involved in them. It certainly wasn’t the $1.50 he made in his start in basketball refereeing!

Lyle Berry is a shining example of what the MHSAA looks for in its officials: Dedicated and hardworking men and women who desire to make a positive impact on the next generation of student athletes. The privilege, Lyle said, is one that he “would do most anything to have continue for many years to come.”

It’s our privilege, Lyle, and we wish you many more years of continued success in officiating.

PHOTOS: (Top) Lyle Berry starts a race during a track & field meet. (Middle) Berry speaks at an MHSAA Officials Awards Banquet.

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.