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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Mon Nov 30, 2015, 06:55pm
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Recruitment and Retention of Officials

I was nominated to be on a committee in my state about the recruitment and retention of sports officials for HS across all sports and levels. I am trying to connect with as many resources as I can to get ideas on how we can recruit new officials, and how we can keep them around. What I am hoping to get from the forum are ideas that you guys (and ladies) do in your area.

Some ideas I've had already:
1. Call the local college coaches to see who they cut this year. This gives the players a chance to stick around the game and make some money on the side.

2. I am a teacher at a high school and I have made an announcement in my classes about getting people to sign up. I got 4 juniors/seniors to sogn up so far for my local HS association.

4. One group in our area buys ads on TV and the local radio. Said that actually got people to the first meeting.

3. I saw on Facebook that one state waives the signup fee for 1-3 year officials who are retired or active military.

I'm hoping there are some awesome ideas out there that our state hasn't tried that could help us with our dilemma. I know we aren't the only state going through it. Any help would be very much appreciated.

PS if you officiate another sport you may see a similar thread on another forum. I am trying to reach as many people as possible. I apologize in that case.
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Old Mon Nov 30, 2015, 07:11pm
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Come One, Come All ...

A few years ago, when we were having trouble attracting new officials, we set up a booth in the lobby while the state tournament finals were being played. We got a lot of new officials that way. Who would not be interested in the glamorous life of a high school basketball official? Where else could one meet so many hot, single, Moms?
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Last edited by BillyMac; Mon Nov 30, 2015 at 07:35pm.
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Old Mon Nov 30, 2015, 07:12pm
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Contact the local college intramural coordinator to see if you can get him to send some of his officials your way. He or she would benefit by having some better trained officials, and you get some folks that are already interested.
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Old Mon Nov 30, 2015, 07:50pm
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I've suggested that licensing fees should be waived for college students here for the first two years just as we're doing for active and retired military.
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Old Mon Nov 30, 2015, 09:07pm
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Maybe not so much an assist for getting officials in the door, but once they're feet are wet we need to retain them with:

A) More evaluation and assignment transparency. How does the assigner rank officials? How are assignments allocated and why? The perception of secrecy drives a lot of guys away, especially those who aren't super talented but are nonetheless a vital part of the organization for sub-varsity basketball.

B) The elimination of any mandatory waiting periods before guys can move up to varsity. If they can work, let 'em work when they are ready, not when some arbitrary minimum number of years has passed.

C) Camp opportunities. Scholarships, grants, etc. Many camps aren't the macho blood baths they used to be, meaning officials looking to improve will find a welcoming and inspiring experience that convinces them to keep doing it for years. Getting hooked on officiating as a lifetime avocation probably happens within the first three years for most officials, so that's the period that it's most important to get them to camps and clinics that energize them.

D) Better pay. Seems obvious, but we hear the horror stories from AL, LA, etc. That's not helping.


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Old Tue Dec 01, 2015, 12:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscountry55 View Post
A) More evaluation and assignment transparency. How does the assigner rank officials? How are assignments allocated and why? The perception of secrecy drives a lot of guys away, especially those who aren't super talented but are nonetheless a vital part of the organization for sub-varsity basketball.

B) The elimination of any mandatory waiting periods before guys can move up to varsity. If they can work, let 'em work when they are ready, not when some arbitrary minimum number of years has passed.

C) Camp opportunities. Scholarships, grants, etc. Many camps aren't the macho blood baths they used to be, meaning officials looking to improve will find a welcoming and inspiring experience that convinces them to keep doing it for years. Getting hooked on officiating as a lifetime avocation probably happens within the first three years for most officials, so that's the period that it's most important to get them to camps and clinics that energize them.

D) Better pay. Seems obvious, but we hear the horror stories from AL, LA, etc. That's not helping.


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Some great points, but I think some are situational so I'll skip them.

B) Around here we have an amazing varsity crew, so I want to make sure people are ready. Tried it a couple times, and I just can't stand it when ADs call me and say we don't want bobby bob back here again. Plenty of competitive freshman games and then JV games for newer officials to work. Almost all JV games are 3man.

C) I've found this to be one of these best ideas. Really not a good idea to lay on requirements and such for newer guys. A lot of the good ones won't buy into it at the start. I was one of them when it came to camps.


I've found two methods to really help.

One, if you have some incredible old know-it-all in your association, is to get a class before the first test. The value of this is incredible. Everything from creating a bond/friends from any given year, to a near 100% pass rate the first time around.

Two, before anyone's first game stress that they are just out there to have fun. Most of them are going to look like idiots, mess up everything, and have crowds who know/voice it. Every year I try to make as many first games as I can just to guide first years.

These are both for retaining officials. Getting them has always seemed a non-issue. With these two methods I've cut down drop-outs substantially.
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Old Wed Dec 02, 2015, 12:36pm
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Inmates Run the Asylum ????

Quote:
Originally Posted by crosscountry55 View Post
Maybe not so much an assist for getting officials in the door, but once they're feet are wet we need to retain them with:

A) More evaluation and assignment transparency. How does the assigner rank officials? How are assignments allocated and why? The perception of secrecy drives a lot of guys away, especially those who aren't super talented but are nonetheless a vital part of the organization for sub-varsity basketball.

B) The elimination of any mandatory waiting periods before guys can move up to varsity. If they can work, let 'em work when they are ready, not when some arbitrary minimum number of years has passed.

C) Camp opportunities. Scholarships, grants, etc. Many camps aren't the macho blood baths they used to be, meaning officials looking to improve will find a welcoming and inspiring experience that convinces them to keep doing it for years. Getting hooked on officiating as a lifetime avocation probably happens within the first three years for most officials, so that's the period that it's most important to get them to camps and clinics that energize them.

D) Better pay. Seems obvious, but we hear the horror stories from AL, LA, etc. That's not helping.


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CC -

Regarding your first point....You are absolutely right but those type of officials quite frankly are the ones that are here for a part time job and don't put any effort into this craft. I have seen it with a lot of the local boards in my area...they feel entitled to games and don't go to a camp or any clinics outside the mandatory state and local meetings...but they are the first group of guys to complain about their type of assignment.....

Georgia Tech played Wofford last night and isn't competing in the Big 10 / ACC Challenge....do you think those guys complained because they didn't get an assignment for the UNC / MD game.

Most assignors know more than those "whiners"....let their type leave.
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Old Wed Dec 02, 2015, 01:29pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Multiple Sports View Post
CC -

Regarding your first point....You are absolutely right but those type of officials quite frankly are the ones that are here for a part time job and don't put any effort into this craft. I have seen it with a lot of the local boards in my area...they feel entitled to games and don't go to a camp or any clinics outside the mandatory state and local meetings...but they are the first group of guys to complain about their type of assignment.....

Georgia Tech played Wofford last night and isn't competing in the Big 10 / ACC Challenge....do you think those guys complained because they didn't get an assignment for the UNC / MD game.

Most assignors know more than those "whiners"....let their type leave.
MS - Not arguing with you at all, and I agree.....if the supply and throughput of new officials in your area is adequate. But I think one of the reasons this post was started in the first place is because there are some places suffering from a very real supply/demand mismatch between officials and # of games.

Because of this I think recruiting is and should remain the priority. That allows us to account for some attrition and promote long-term stability. But we can't forget about the retention aspect, and when recruiting is suffering, sometimes you have to regrettably allow the effortless part-timers to remain on the floor. If so, I'm pointing out that we should manage their expectations by being as transparent and honest as possible. If the baby is ugly, say so.
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Old Wed Dec 02, 2015, 07:39pm
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A mentor system for newer officials that want one to help improve their game to the next level
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Old Wed Dec 02, 2015, 11:28pm
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Exactly-people coming in need to know that someone has asked the questions they've asked about a certain rule or how to communicate with coaches.We should all want to be the people that younger newer officials come to with questions.
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Old Thu Dec 03, 2015, 10:24am
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Our issue is that with multiple universities here, we see a college kid for a year or so and then they disappear.

This year our association is partnering with the local YMCA and city Park Rec department in official recruitment and retention. The Y has some newer employees that the organization is encouraging to become officials. I have done clinics for many years and I have a college official observer in my group so we have the personnel to train.

The association offers free membership to full time students. Our state association has reduced fees for first time members. They have also stressed mentoring. My association is still working on that piece.

I hope this is a good first step in helping our process. I'm not getting younger and we need the next wave to step up or schools will be hurting, especially at the lower levels.
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Old Thu Dec 03, 2015, 03:19pm
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Getting new blood is one thing, retaining good/experienced officials is another. I worked up to & including state playoff games (totaling approximately 60 games a year) in one state but upon moving to another state only received a handful of quality varsity games. I understand it takes time to work your way up but I came in with the highest grade possible, received a perfect score on my test for the new state, worked the first year including Jr. High, JV as well as varsity games & received positive feedback from the one game an evaluator was present. At the end of the season I was told by two assignors that I would need to attend their camps if I wanted to get better/more games from them. Really, pay upwards of $250 so I can get games in your conferences while they pocket the $$$ from the camps I’m doing games in. After 24 years that was more than I could tolerate. Now I pay my $5, sit in the stands & enjoy the games while those poor zebras, that paid good coin to attend the “good old boys” camps, struggle on the floor. Sorry, until the state associations step in & provide some modicum of sanity, good officials are going to walk away. I love the game; I played it, coached it & officiated it; now I just watch it.
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Old Thu Dec 03, 2015, 03:28pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewpert View Post
Getting new blood is one thing, retaining good/experienced officials is another. I worked up to & including state playoff games (totaling approximately 60 games a year) in one state but upon moving to another state only received a handful of quality varsity games. I understand it takes time to work your way up but I came in with the highest grade possible, received a perfect score on my test for the new state, worked the first year including Jr. High, JV as well as varsity games & received positive feedback from the one game an evaluator was present. At the end of the season I was told by two assignors that I would need to attend their camps if I wanted to get better/more games from them. Really, pay upwards of $250 so I can get games in your conferences while they pocket the $$$ from the camps I’m doing games in. After 24 years that was more than I could tolerate. Now I pay my $5, sit in the stands & enjoy the games while those poor zebras, that paid good coin to attend the “good old boys” camps, struggle on the floor. Sorry, until the state associations step in & provide some modicum of sanity, good officials are going to walk away. I love the game; I played it, coached it & officiated it; now I just watch it.
I hate to hear about this kind of stuff. Hope you continue to enjoy the game, bud.
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Old Thu Dec 03, 2015, 03:31pm
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I hate to hear about this kind of stuff. Hope you continue to enjoy the game, bud.
Me too.

I moved 5 times in the first 15 years I officiated.
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Old Thu Dec 03, 2015, 04:23pm
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Me three. Active duty military: 8 years officiating (when I'm not deployed), 6 different states. With one exception (kudos to Kansas!), I was pretty much relegated to the bottom or near bottom each time.

Assignors needing to observe officials via camps and scrimmages is fair. You don't buy a new car without test-driving it. But $250 for an association HS camp? Gimme a break. It should be free or at the very most have a nominal fee to cover expenses (pizza, handouts, and maybe a few bucks for the observers' time). If you left the game because a $250 straw of greed broke the camel's back, I can't really say I blame you.
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