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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 12:39am
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2019-2020 POE's

Coming to the end of the regular seasons here in Illinois. I was thinking about next year's POE's. Honestly, the number 1 thing I'd like to see has nothing to do directly with us on the court at all.

It seems like everyday I read a different article from a different newspaper in a different state about officials' shortages, and not just in basketball. I hear it every night in a different gym in a different community.

What I'd like to see from the NFHS is a directive to schools to patrol the bleachers better and really enforce that "sportsmanship code" or whatever gets read before the game.

I say this not because I'm thin-skinned and can't take the verbal abuse. If it bothered me I would have given it up years ago. I say it because 80% of new officials quit after two years because of the abuse. I say it because I read an article somewhere that last season there were 14 basketball officials in the state of Illinois age 30 or younger (I was 30 all of last basketball season). 14!!! From Chicago to Carbondale!

Something's got to change. Probably a pipe dream, but perhaps it would help retain more newer officials.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 07:26am
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Its a problem without a solution, at least as far as the schools go. At best, the state orgs could start suspending problem schools from having home games, thus hurting them in the pocket book. But I don't see this fixing anything until we get out of this cycle.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 07:56am
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Originally Posted by SNIPERBBB View Post
Its a problem without a solution, at least as far as the schools go. At best, the state orgs could start suspending problem schools from having home games, thus hurting them in the pocket book. But I don't see this fixing anything until we get out of this cycle.
In my head, the solution is rather easy. Practicality might be another story, but schools would need 2-4 people who aren't afraid of a little confrontation to patrol the crowd and get rid of poor sports. Maybe put that police presence to use and have the officer do it.

One fan ejection ought to send a message for the rest of the night.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 11:24am
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Well, I can say this from personal experience. I am not sure that a number of people under 30 are all about a shortage of officials. In basketball in Illinois, we have actually about the same number of officials as we have had before in previous years. The numbers overall are down in raw numbers, but we are far from a shortage. I am not hearing of games not being covered. I am not hearing of times and dates to be changed. Maybe that is coming but not quite yet.

And as someone that teaches a new officials class in both basketball and has worked with the football class over the years as well, most newer officials are older and come into this when their kids get older and now they have time to officiate. I also think that this is about the economy as well. When the economy gets bad, people try to find other sources of income and often officiating is a good part-time job. The economy is a little better and those that got in when the economy crashed, now goes back to work or has more security and get out of officiating.

It must be also noted that if an official under 30 is any good, they can almost stop working high school basketball altogether and work college ball. I know guys that have 30 to 40 games in college and they hardly have any high school experience. Why would they work 100 high school games when they can make the same money working college ball with fewer headaches and time spent.

Now we need to do a better job as an officiating community to recruit officials at the younger ages. That is certainly the case. But part of the issue is that this is not appealing to those younger. I think a lot of younger people have no desire to put up with even being yelled at. I do not think that totally as to do with sportsmanship, I think that is just not a desire. Yes, sportsmanship is a problem and leading to all kinds of people to get out for sure. But I think even if you cleaned up some stuff, we still would have some that would never want to do this.

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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 11:35am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bas2456 View Post
I say it because 80% of new officials quit after two years because of the abuse.
That's part of it. The other is in regard to upward mobility. Guys don't want to keep doing middle school, freshman, and junior varsity games year after year.

In many cases, it's warranted, they're not ready to move up, but in other cases it's politics, or observation/evaluation/rating/promotion procedures that may need some tweaking.

We revamped our observation/evaluation/rating/promotion procedures a few years ago and we're seeing more guys "stick it out". They can see a path to varsity games with fewer obstacles than in the past.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 12:10pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
That's part of it. The other is in regard to upward mobility. Guys don't want to keep doing middle school, freshman, and junior varsity games year after year.

In many cases, it's warranted, they're not ready to move up, but in other cases it's politics, or observation/evaluation/rating/promotion procedures that may need some tweaking.

We revamped our observation/evaluation/rating/promotion procedures a few years ago and we're seeing more guys "stick it out". They can see a path to varsity games with fewer obstacles than in the past.
And in other cases it's because us older officials aren't ready to move out of the way. 70 is the new 50!
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 12:17pm
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I would agree with your point, Billy. We had a great revamp of our observation program last year where all scores and comments for evals would be entered into Arbiter in addition to the observer coming into the locker room post game to discuss things with the crew. We could then see things that we need to improve on. It wasn't always perfect, as there were a few who would come into the room and say everything was great and then hammer guys on the eval. But by-and-large, it was great. I felt like I knew what I needed to improve on to get the games I wanted. This year, they've gone back to no feedback. I've been observed 3-4 times this year and have no idea what the observers scored me or things I still need to work on from their perspective. That is really frustrating because that is a great tool for both the assignors AND the officials.

We do have a shortage in Iowa of officials, so basically if you have a pulse and a desire, you can work varsity games. I've mentioned in the past about how we almost had to do some 2-man for small school ball in the very rural areas. But the guys who want to keep moving up to get (or continue to get) the fun big conference games and important playoff games have no idea where we stand and what to improve on.

In addition to that, we've received at least two emails from the assignor for the girls post season this year who has indicated that under almost no circumstances are we to call him because he is busy with his other job outside of high school athletics. We are only to email if it is imperative. That, alone, makes me understand why some guys would just say "to hell with it." He is the one the evals go to, he is the one making the decisions, but the language he used made it pretty clear that we are not a priority and should not expect him to do anything for us. So there is very little chance of us getting our eval scores or asking him for feedback on what to improve on to get better playoff games unless they plan to send those to us after the season. I can post the text of the email if anyone is curious, it seemed almost unprofessional to me.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 12:24pm
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yes please and thank you

hay Unigiantslayer....pls post that email and be sure REDACT the irrlevant parts of it. I'm sure it will be informative for all of us here on the Forum.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 01:23pm
sj sj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bas2456 View Post
Coming to the end of the regular seasons here in Illinois. I was thinking about next year's POE's. Honestly, the number 1 thing I'd like to see has nothing to do directly with us on the court at all.

It seems like everyday I read a different article from a different newspaper in a different state about officials' shortages, and not just in basketball. I hear it every night in a different gym in a different community.

What I'd like to see from the NFHS is a directive to schools to patrol the bleachers better and really enforce that "sportsmanship code" or whatever gets read before the game.

I say this not because I'm thin-skinned and can't take the verbal abuse. If it bothered me I would have given it up years ago. I say it because 80% of new officials quit after two years because of the abuse. I say it because I read an article somewhere that last season there were 14 basketball officials in the state of Illinois age 30 or younger (I was 30 all of last basketball season). 14!!! From Chicago to Carbondale!

Something's got to change. Probably a pipe dream, but perhaps it would help retain more newer officials.
You make an important point. You’re observation is correct that while there have been well meaning people doing a handful of things to improve things there has been no improvement.

Publishing articles is fine but it’s hard to argue that they’ve changed things as there is no way to measure the effect they’ve had. There simply needs to be consequences for a fan that acts badly. Just getting kicked out of a game isn’t enough. I know of one school district whose policy is that if a fan gets kicked out of a game they will not be allowed to attend any school function for one year. They actually enforced it once on a grandparent who as a result of being kicked out of a game not only could not go to games but missed their grandchild’s graduation. But they haven’t had any problems since. Some form of this type of thing needs to be considered by every school district or perhaps even state associations.

The NFHS formed a Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to address concussions and injury situations. They need to form the NFHS Sportsmanship Advisory Committee to do the same thing with fan behavior. Rules education for fans and coaches, education of AD’s and school administrators on spotting and addressing problems and hiring only security personnel for games that have actual arresting authority are some other things to talk about.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 01:27pm
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Regarding the OP, I think the first think the NFHS should do is survey all officials to better understand the barriers to why officials stop officiating. Is it because they get tired of the abuse, is it because they get 100 JV games and no varsity, is it political, is it other circumstances such as family/job commitments, etc. Our association loses officials every year and gains some. The number one reason people stop being part of our association, they don't want to invest in the other parts of the organization like community service, training sessions, volunteering at team camp, donating to fundraisers, etc.

We need to take a hard look at the reasons, but if we don't understand the problem, it's hard to apply a solution. We all make assumptions, but a survey might help draw some places to focus on.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 01:36pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
That's part of it. The other is in regard to upward mobility. Guys don't want to keep doing middle school, freshman, and junior varsity games year after year.

In many cases, it's warranted, they're not ready to move up, but in other cases it's politics, or observation/evaluation/rating/promotion procedures that may need some tweaking.

We revamped our observation/evaluation/rating/promotion procedures a few years ago and we're seeing more guys "stick it out". They can see a path to varsity games with fewer obstacles than in the past.
The big problem is that if everyone is going to get to full varsity schedules in 3-4 years or so, that implies they can only have them for for 1-2 years before they have to move out of the way for the next wave. The reality of the numbers is that a group will have to have some number of people that stay at JV a little longer, even if they could do varsity, just to keep enough people around to cover the games.
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Last edited by Camron Rust; Thu Feb 07, 2019 at 01:39pm.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 01:46pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kansas Ref View Post
hay Unigiantslayer....pls post that email and be sure REDACT the irrlevant parts of it. I'm sure it will be informative for all of us here on the Forum.
It is on my personal email so I don't have the exact text right this second but it went something very close to:
I will be traveling for work most of January and some of February for my day job and will not be able to take calls or answer texts/emails until after 3 or 4(?) each day.
went on to say something in that email very close to
I'll be working on post season assignments starting mid january so my nights will be filled and I will not have extra time to assist you in finding replacements out a week or two.

The next email sent this week said (paraphrased)

I might need help due to cancellations Friday, so if you can help send me a text. Only a text with your name and yes I can work, please do not send me emails, and definitely do not call me.

I don't know, maybe I read too much into it. But that doesn't exactly sound like someone who wants to chat with officials about their evals and/or questions about post season assignments and how they can get better. It is just frustrating because you have that, and anytime I've called the boys' association contact person (we have a Boys Association and a Girls Union in our state), he's also been very short and verging on rude to me about my pretty valid and simple questions. I can see why some guys would feel like the state doesn't support them, on top of dealing with the crap from fans/coaches on a nightly basis. I could go on and on with more examples but that has been the general consensus from every official who has brought this stuff up this season.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 01:48pm
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How is the NF going to at all set a standard for different jurisdictions, with different values and different security and fan interaction? The NF can put out whatever they would like, but that does not mean some school district is going to follow those standards if the state or the state athletic high school association does not set or enforce such positions. Even if an official is assaulted or harassed, there are no NF laws that can prosecute those violators.

Sportsmanship is a problem, but not sure how the NF putting something on a book or on a website is going to change that problem if we at the local level do not take action. Heck officials in some cases will not give back games if they think it will hurt their career when certain schools have been constant violators.

Peace
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 01:59pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNIgiantslayers View Post
It is on my personal email so I don't have the exact text right this second but it went something very close to:
I will be traveling for work most of January and some of February for my day job and will not be able to take calls or answer texts/emails until after 3 or 4(?) each day.
went on to say something in that email very close to
I'll be working on post season assignments starting mid january so my nights will be filled and I will not have extra time to assist you in finding replacements out a week or two.

The next email sent this week said (paraphrased)

I might need help due to cancellations Friday, so if you can help send me a text. Only a text with your name and yes I can work, please do not send me emails, and definitely do not call me.

I don't know, maybe I read too much into it. But that doesn't exactly sound like someone who wants to chat with officials about their evals and/or questions about post season assignments and how they can get better. It is just frustrating because you have that, and anytime I've called the boys' association contact person (we have a Boys Association and a Girls Union in our state), he's also been very short and verging on rude to me about my pretty valid and simple questions. I can see why some guys would feel like the state doesn't support them, on top of dealing with the crap from fans/coaches on a nightly basis. I could go on and on with more examples but that has been the general consensus from every official who has brought this stuff up this season.
I've worked for supervisors who say never to call them unless it's an emergency situation. I've worked for supervisors who say never to text them, only email them. I've worked for supervisors who have said never to ask them about your schedule or why you are or aren't getting games. I've worked for supervisors who contact you before putting you into a last minute assignment and others who expect you take an assignment the morning of if you are not blocked out.

It's all part of the business to navigate the nuances, quirks, and personalities of those who assign us games.
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Old Thu Feb 07, 2019, 02:02pm
CJP CJP is offline
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Perhaps limiting the amount of varsity games an official can work per week can have a positive effect on sportsmanship and "new" official retention. This of course would only be possible where there are enough officials to cover games. Local governing bodies can decide. I have a problem with officials working 4-5 nights per week and new guys (with potential) are not advancing. I limit my nights to 3 per week and I think that is plenty.
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