The Official View: Winter Wonderland

By Brent Rice
MHSAA Assistant Director

November 12, 2018

By Brent Rice
MHSAA Assistant Director

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.

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.