The Official View: Winter Wonderland

By Brent Rice
MHSAA Assistant Director

November 12, 2018

In this week’s “Official View” we explain the important of insurance and offer a brief primer on how the MHSAA helps officials stay covered.

We also work through some rule scenarios in football, volleyball and swimming and take a look at a few of the wintery scenes braved not only by teams on the field and fans in the stands but officials in stripes as well.

It’s Official!

Most officials will go their entire lives without needing to utilize insurance coverage for something that occurred while officiating. In the often rough-and-tough world of school sports, though, the need for officials to protect themselves on and off the field has never been greater. While officiating is not considered a dangerous avocation, officials should prepare themselves for those one-in-a-million situations.

There are a variety of coverage options out there for officials, ranging from medical and loss of income coverage due to injuries sustained while officiating to liability coverage and legal fees. Officials, individually and through their associations, can purchase increased coverages that suit their needs.

The MHSAA continues to look out for the best interests of our registered officials in this area and in other ways. When officials annually register with the MHSAA, they are included in both a comprehensive liability plan and catastrophic medical coverage for incidents that occur during MHSAA contests. Major injuries due to officiating are rare, but it is nice to have the security that you’re covered in the event of some tragic event. Though the few lawsuits that officials are a party to are often summarily dismissed, the MHSAA’s liability coverage kicks in at dollar one, including any legal fees or attorney retainers.

We will be seeking your feedback in how we can best serve these interests as they pertain to increased insurance coverage, training and development and providing additional useful resources. We thank you for your input and continued commitment and dedication to the MHSAA and the Officials Program.

Rule of the Week

FOOTBALL It’s 4th-and-8 on Team K’s 35-yard line. R1 signals for a fair catch at Team R’s 40-yard line. R1 muffs the punt, and the ball is picked up by K5 at Team R’s 35. With no one else around, K5 runs into his end zone for an apparent touchdown.

Ruling: The ball is dead at the moment the muffed kick is possessed by Team K. The ball cannot be advanced. It will be 1st-and-10 for Team K on R’s 35.

It’s Your Call

VOLLEYBALL This week’s clip shows a back row player for Team S making a back row attack and then landing on the attack line. What’s the call?

Last Week’s IYC Ruling: Last week’s video shows a swimmer drifting into the lane divider before ultimately finishing first in the meet. This incidental contact with the lane divider is legal since she did not grab ahold or otherwise use the divider to pull herself through the water. (Click to see last week's video.)

Official View: Reffing in a Winter Wonderland

The first day of winter is scheduled for Dec. 21, but you wouldn’t know that by the weather from this past weekend’s football games.

Snow covered most of the state Friday and Saturday, even causing some teams to play in a couple of inches of the falling white stuff. Just like our teams, the officials braved the cold and flurries to ensure another great week of MHSAA football.

The top photo shows Thirlby Field during the Division 6 Regional Final between Traverse City St. Francis and Kingley.

The photo above and to the right is from the 8-Player Semifinal between host Rapid River and Cedarville. The crew, from left: Joel Mitrzyk, Mark Pieniozek, Jan Viliquette, Paul Binder and David Paananen.

Be the Referee: Officials Registration

By Sam Davis
MHSAA Officials Coordinator

May 30, 2023

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 – Officials Registration - Listen

We talk a lot about the need for registered officials. But how do you sign up? What does it take to become a referee, umpire, or judge?

The steps are simple. Go to to the Officials Tab, and identify the sport or sports you are interested in. Next, complete the MHSAA Principals of Officiating and the Officials Guidebook exams.

The Officials Guidebook covers basic elements and procedures for becoming a sports official. This first step of the process covers playing rules, ejection protocols, game assignments, and payment of game fees.

Once you pass the exams, it’s time to connect with a locally-approved officials association. The local associations are the ones that provide the training – whether it’s on the court, on the field, on the mats, or video training – to get that person completely immersed in the rules, mechanics, and coverages of what it takes to become a good official.

Previous Editions:

May 23: Soccer Offsides or Goal? - Listen
May 16: Track & Field Exchange Zones - Listen
May 9: Girls Lacrosse Self-Start - Listen
May 2: Baseball/Softball Overthrow - Listen
April 25: Fifth-Quarter/Third-Half Rule - Listen
April 18: Soccer Referee in Play? - Listen
April 11: Softball Strikeout - Listen
March 14: Basketball Instant Replay - Listen
March 7: Hockey Overtime - Listen
Feb. 28: Baker Bowling - Listen
Feb. 21: Ski Finish - Listen
Feb. 14: Swimming Touchpads - Listen
Feb. 7: In or Out-of-Bounds in Wrestling - Listen
Jan. 31: Over the Back - Listen
Jan. 24: Competitive Cheer Judges - Listen
Jan. 17: More Lines - Listen
Jan. 10: On the Line - Listen
Jan. 3: Basketball Measurements - Listen
Dec. 13: Pregame Dunks - Listen
Dec. 6: Gymnastics Judges - Listen
Nov. 22: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 15: Back Row Illegal Blocker - Listen
Nov. 8: Swim Turn Judges - Listen
Nov. 1: Soccer Referee Jersey Colors - Listen
Oct. 25: Cross Country Tie-Breaker - Listen
Oct. 18: Soccer Shootouts - Listen
Oct. 11: Safety in End ZoneListen
Oct. 4: Football Overtime Penalty - Listen
Sept. 27: Kickoff Goal - Listen
Sept. 20: Soccer Timing - Listen
Sept. 13: Volleyball Replays - Listen
Sept. 6: Switching Sides - Listen
Aug. 30: Play Clock - Listen
Aug. 23: Intentional Grounding Change
- Listen

PHOTO: Officers confer during a soccer match early this season. (Photo by Chris Mudd/National Photo Scout.)