Supporting Sports Officials

February 20, 2015

There recently has been some criticism that the MHSAA hasn’t “had the backs” of sports officials regarding a proposal for a new state law.
To make a difference of opinion about legislative strategy the litmus test of MHSAA support for officials is misguided at best and manipulative at worst.
Moreover, from the standpoint of coaches and spectators, the MHSAA is much too ready to support officials, even when officials misapply a game rule or misjudge a contest situation. That we always back officials, even when they are wrong, is a criticism that resonates with the public far more than the recent, rare criticism that we don’t have officials’ backs on a piece of legislation that we believe lacks merit.
Despite the hype and hope, there are two things the proposed legislation will not do: 
First, additional legal sanctions will not dissuade someone who has momentarily lost his or her mind to pause and think, “Oh yeah, If I slug this person, there’s an extra penalty.” There is no evidence that such legislation works as a deterrent to emotional outbursts.
Second, putting such legislation on the books will not improve sportsmanship on the front lines. Such laws are empty words; improving sportsmanship is year-round, grassroots work of real substance.
Because our energies are invested in the ongoing work of improving sportsmanship in interscholastic athletics’ special niche in the world of sports, the MHSAA has been known nationwide for several decades as a high school association with great passion for good sportsmanship and innovative programs to improve sportsmanship.
This week alone we have thousands of students and others voluntarily watching videos promoting school spirit and good sportsmanship as the fourth annual “Battle of the Fans” concludes. This program, born in Michigan, is now spreading to our counterpart organizations across the U.S.
This week, and almost every week, we have staff traveling “anytime, anywhere” to deliver face-to-face education to groups of high school coaches who, more than anyone else, influence the behaviors of both players and spectators.
Through the years, we have promoted sportsmanship with audio and video and print promotions. We’ve conducted statewide, league and local sportsmanship summits as well as team captain and student leadership workshops. We have rewarded good sportsmanship, and penalized bad.
The MHSAA’s Constitution requires every member school to adopt a code of good sportsmanship for its athletes, coaches and spectators, an educational program to promote good sportsmanship, and a system of progressive discipline for failure to behave according to the code of good sportsmanship. A condition of MHSAA membership is to demonstrate that those requirements are being met.
Time and money spent on real solutions, not symbolism, is the MHSAA’s approach to creating and maintaining a higher level of sportsmanship. And it’s the best way for the MHSAA to demonstrate its ongoing support for contest officials.

Be the Referee: Soccer Offside

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

June 4, 2024

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 – Soccer Offside - Listen

We have an offside situation in soccer to talk about today. The offense sends a long pass from their own half of the field to a teammate way down at the defensive team’s 18-yard line … but she’s offside.

The assistant referee raises her flag and the referee blows her whistle for offside, and an indirect free kick is given to the defense. Where do they take the kick from?

  • Is it the spot where the offside player was when the assistant referee raised her flag?
  • The spot where the ball was when play was stopped?
  • The point of the infraction?
  • Or the spot from where the ball was originally passed?

If you said “at the point of the infraction” you are correct. In this case, the defense gets an indirect free kick where the offside occurred.

Previous Editions

May 28: Appeal Play - Listen
May 21: Lacrosse Foul in Critical Scoring Area - Listen
May 14: Avoiding the Tag - Listen
May 7: Baseball Pitch Count - Listen
April 30: Boys Lacrosse Helmets - Listen
April 23: Softball Interference - Listen
April 16: Soccer Red Card - Listen
April 9: Batted Baseball Hits Runner - Listen
March 12: Basketball Replay - Listen
March 5: Hockey Officials - Listen
Feb. 27: Less Than 5 - Listen
Feb. 20: Air Ball - Listen
Feb. 13: Hockey Penalties - Listen
Jan. 30: Wrestling Tiebreakers - Listen
Jan. 23: Wrestling Technology - Listen
Jan. 9: 3 Seconds - Listen
Dec. 19: Unsuspecting Hockey Hits - Listen
Dec. 12: No More One-And-Ones - Listen
Nov. 21: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 14: Volleyball Unplayable Areas - Listen
Nov. 7: Pass/Kick Off Crossbar - Listen
Oct. 31: Cross Country Interference - Listen
Oct. 24: Soccer Overtime - Listen
Oct. 17: Tennis Spin - Listen
Oct. 10: Blocked Kick - Listen
Oct. 3: Volleyball Double & Lift - Listen
Sept. 26: Registration Process - Listen
Sept. 20: Animal Interference - Listen
Sept. 13: Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
Sept. 6: Volleyball Jewelry - Listen
Aug. 30: Football Rules Similarities - Listen
Aug. 23: Football Rules Differences - Listen

(Photo by Gary Shook.)