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Tag Archive | "high school sports"

Become an official 


 

Stay connected to high school sports

By Bob Gardner and Mark Uyl 

They don’t make the headlines, their names are not in the box scores and they don’t make the all-star teams. But perhaps the most important individuals in high school sports are the contest officials.

These individuals are so important that, in fact, there would be no organized competitive sports at the high school level without the men and women who officiate these contests every day across the country. Subtract the dedicated men and women who officiate high school sports, and competitive sports would no longer be organized; they would be chaotic.

In some areas of our country, high school officials are retiring faster than new ones are being added. And junior varsity, freshmen and middle school games are being postponed—or even cancelled—because  there are not enough men and women to officiate them.

Anyone looking for a unique way to contribute to the local community should consider becoming a registered high school official. For individuals who played sports in high school, officiating is a great way to stay close to the sport after their playing days have ended. Officiating helps people stay in shape, expands their social and professional networks and offers part-time work that is flexible, yet pays. In fact, officiating is a form of community service, but with compensation.

Another benefit of officiating is that individuals become role models so that teenagers in the community can learn the life lessons that high school sports teach. Students learn to respect their opponents and the rules of the game and the importance of practicing good sportsmanship thanks, in part, to those men and women who officiate. And the objectivity and integrity that high school officials display is an example that every young person needs to observe firsthand. In short, communities around the country will be stronger because of the life lessons that high school officials help teach the next generation.   

Officiating is a great way to stay connected to sports and to give back to the local high school and community. We need dedicated men and women to become involved so that high school sports can continue to prosper for years to come.

Individuals interested in learning more about becoming a high school official, and even beginning the application process, can do so at www.HighSchoolOfficials.com.

Bob Gardner is Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and Mark Uyl is Assistant Director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association

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Rule changes for fall high school sports


Each year, the Michigan High School Athletic Association seeks to improve the safety of high school athletes. Below are some rules changes in fall sports.
Football
Rules were added restricting targeting of opponent and illegal helmet contact with defenseless players, with both resulting in 15-yard penalties. Targeting is defined as taking aim at an opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder to initiate contact above the shoulders and with an intent beyond making a legal tackle or block, or playing the ball. A defenseless player can be considered one no longer involved in a play, a runner whose progress has been stopped, a player focused on receiving a kick or a receiver who has given up on an errant pass, or a player already on the ground.
Roughing-the-passer fouls now will result in an automatic first down in addition to the previous 15-yard penalty.
On kickoffs, the kicking team must have at least four players on either side of the kicker, and no kicking team players except for the kicker may line up more than five yards behind the free-kick line. These changes were made to improve safety by balancing the kicking formation and shortening the potential run-up by kicking team players heading down the field to tackle the ball carrier.
A number of significant rules changes will go into effect for other fall sports:
Cross country
In cross country, the ban on wearing jewelry has been lifted (and also for track and field in the spring). The National Federation of State High School Associations deemed the ban unnecessary in these two sports because there is little risk of injury with minimal contact between competitors. Elimination of the rule will allow officials to further focus on the competition.
Soccer
In soccer, Michigan has adopted the National Federation rule stating home teams must wear solid white jerseys and socks, with visiting teams in dark jerseys and socks (dark defined as any color contrasting white). Also, officials may now wear green and blue shirts in addition to red and black as alternates to the primary yellow shirt with black pinstripes.
Also for soccer, both field players and goalkeepers must now leave the field when injured and the referee has stopped the clock. Previously, an injured goalkeeper was not required to leave the game when the referee stopped the clock; going forward, the keeper must be replaced.
Swimming and diving
In swimming and diving, one change affects the beginning of races and another impacts a specific event. The use of starter’s pistols is now prohibited; starters must use an alternative sounding device to start races. Additionally, in the backstroke, a swimmer may not submerge his or her entire body after the start except for during turns. The swimmer must remain on or above the water surface on the finish, eliminating the abuse of submerging well before touching the wall. This change also applies to the finish of the backstroke leg of the individual medley.

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