“Who Needs This?”

May 24, 2013

One of the best barometers we have for informing us of the health of Michigan’s economy is to examine the number of registrations to be an MHSAA official.  When the economy is poor, registrations trend upward; when the economy is improving, registrations decline.

Well, business must be booming in Michigan!  Since the 2007-08 school year we’ve fallen almost 2,000 registrations.

Some of this decline can be explained away by the fact that registrations spiked upward when we allowed some free registrations in volleyball and basketball following the 2007 court-ordered changes in the girls volleyball and basketball seasons.  But most of the recent decline – certainly the 1,000 decline of the past two years – is unrelated to discontinuing those promotional efforts; and it’s unrelated to a very reluctant resurgence in Michigan’s economy.

What is at work here now are two newer forces that frustrate efforts to maintain a pool of officials that is adequate to handle all the contests of a broad and deep interscholastic athletic program, and to handle those contests well:

  • The first is the rise of social media and “instant criticism.”  Spectators not only can critique calls before the official gets home from the game, those spectators can do so during the game.  Their biased comments – and photos – can go worldwide before the official has left the venue!  Really, who needs this?  There have got to be less stressful hobbies.
  • The second factor is the increased dependence on assigners.  As local school athletic directors’ jobs became larger and more complicated, and as they were often given less time to do those jobs, more have had to turn to local assigners who will hire contest officials for groups of schools in one or more sports.  As assigners built their little kingdoms, new officials have found it harder to break in and obtain a rewarding number of assignments.  Many officials who have found themselves out of sorts with a local assigner have said, “Really, who needs this?”  They find more fulfilling ways to spend their time.

The fact is that school-based sports – educational athletics – needs officials.  We need them.

We need more officials and we especially need more young officials.  Officials are vital members of the team that is necessary to provide a school-based sports program that actually does what it says it does – and that is to teach life lessons, including fair play and sportsmanship.

 (Find out more about MHSAA officiating)

Be the Referee: Appeal Play

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

May 29, 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 – Appeal Play - Listen

We’re on the diamond, and we’ve got the bases loaded with one out. The batter hits a fly ball, and all three runners take off. The fly ball is caught for out number two. The fielder throws to first base for out number three – which is technically an appeal play, not a force out, with the runner leaving early. But before that out is recorded, the runner who left third base early crosses the plate.

Does that run count?

It depends!

If the defense appeals to third base before leaving the field of play, they would be awarded a fourth out, and the run would not count.

But if they fail to appeal, or if they all run to the dugout before realizing an appeal is needed, then yes, the run would count – even though the runner failed to tag up.

Previous Editions

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.)