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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 06:55am
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Observing the Handshake

The high school governing body in Massachusetts, the MIAA, has put in place a recommendation that game officials remain on the court at the end of a game to observe the handshake between teams. This "recommendation" will become a requirement next year -- for all team sports in Massachusetts.

The Massachsetts State Basketball Officials Assn. has decided it will not honor this request and has advised officials to "immediately exit the playing area" as has been the practice.

The officials have told the MIAA that if this requirement is going to be in place for the state tournament this season, the officials will not enroll in the MIAA and presumably not accept tournament games.

The vast majority of Massachusetts high school officials are IAABO members. IAABO has also advised officials not to remain on the court to observe the handshake. The officials say they are concerned for their safety and welfare of officials.

No word yet from the MIAA.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 07:21am
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I don't blame the officials one bit. The MIAA is trying to shift the onus for post game decorum onto the officials from the parties who should have that responsibility- the coaches. And, as you said, it gives the goof-azz fans a convenient and handy target for their post-game rage.

If the MIAA insists on having a handshake ceremony between the teams to show sportsmanship, why not have it pre-game? We handle a football league that went to that, specifically to get it over with before any game tensions arose and also to keep the fans out of the equation.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 10:57am
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I am an official and a hs coach in MA. (I don't ref hs anymore because of my coaching schedule) I've been following this fairly closely.

Here is a notice that was e-mailed to MIAA member schools. I apologize in advance for the length, but this e-mail clears up possible 2-5-7 issues in relation to the ceremonial handshake...


Quote:
Dear School and Athletic Leaders,


During its meeting yesterday, the MIAA Board of Directors voted to publish and communicate the information below. Following the vote, Board members asked me to communicate to you the need for the leadership of both Athletic Directors and Principals in: (1) assuring a positive venue climate; (2) inviting and encouraging the presence of Basketball Officials during the post-game handshake sportsmanship ceremony; and (3) conveying your support of the new rule to your students and school communities. School principals on the Board of Directors asked that I share with their colleagues the need to support implementation of this rule, and to assure their home site is actively managed so as to reflect the positive culture/climate with which any school activity should be identified.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Earlier this month, the MIAA announced the recent action of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Council (MIAC) relative to increasing the visibility of contest officials during post-game handshake ceremonies in team sports. Such an initiative was adopted many years ago in the sports of ice hockey and soccer. The practice has elevated the educational culture and climate of these sports. This Winter season, game officials in other team sports are called to support the success demonstrated in these sports, by also participating in the ceremonial post game handshake.



In the dialogue leading up to this rule adoption, potential implication of this handshake policy on the final score of a basketball game was raised. This concern was related to a possible technical foul being assessed for behaviors after the buzzer, but before the officials leave the court. With the advice and counsel of the National Federation Basketball Rules Editor, the following interpretation of NF Basketball Rule 2, Section 5, Article 7 addresses this concern: "When the referee either signs the scorebook following the end of the game, or when a non-verbal confirmation is exchanged between the referee and the official scorer, the score is then final and considered approved."



Any unsportsmanlike behavior following approval of the final score will be penalized consistent only with MIAA Sportsmanship Rule 49.8: "Fighting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will be within the authority of the official at all times at the contest site. The official's authority extends to pre and post game oversight." Implementation of this rule could have future consequences on the offender, but does not affect the final score.



A recent question of increased "liability" apparently has been raised by some basketball officials. Contest officials have no increased liability for any activity resulting from the handshake ceremony, but rather are simply participants within that ceremony. Head coaches (and not game officials) are responsible for their teams and student-athletes during the handshake ceremony. The contest Site Manager (most often the home team Athletic Director) and School Administration are responsible for spectator decorum at the venue.



The MIAC vote did acknowledge that there may be rare occasions when either the game officials or contest site manager decide to excuse the officials from the post-game ceremony. When that decision is made, a report [click - http://www.miaa.net/Sportsmanship-Ha...port-Form.pdf] must be submitted to the MIAA Sportsmanship Committee, which will be monitoring and evaluating this new standard.



As always, the contest site manager also has the authority to cancel the post-game ceremony altogether, if circumstances suggest such a decision.



Questions, implementation advice or resources should be discussed with MIAA Deputy Director Bill Gaine (Executive Liaison to the MIAA Sportsmanship Committee).



Kindly accept best Association wishes to you and yours for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season,



dick neal
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 11:53am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biz
I am an official and a hs coach in MA. (I don't ref hs anymore because of my coaching schedule) I've been following this fairly closely.

Here is a notice that was e-mailed to MIAA member schools. I apologize in advance for the length, but this e-mail clears up possible 2-5-7 issues in relation to the ceremonial handshake...
No, it doesn't clear up the 2-5-7 issues. It's an attempt to obfuscate them.
Let's use this email to interpret a situation:

After the final horn, the officials glance at the scorer to see if all is well. They get the thumbs up and start for the door. The winning coach decides to take this opportunity to release some profanities directed towards the officials. The coach's team is ahead by 1 point at this juncture.

According to this email, there's nothing the officials can do, yet that goes directly against an NFHS case play.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 11:59am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaqwells
No, it doesn't clear up the 2-5-7 issues. It's an attempt to obfuscate them.
Let's use this email to interpret a situation:

After the final horn, the officials glance at the scorer to see if all is well. They get the thumbs up and start for the door. The winning coach decides to take this opportunity to release some profanities directed towards the officials. The coach's team is ahead by 1 point at this juncture.

According to this email, there's nothing the officials can do, yet that goes directly against an NFHS case play.
What it appears this policy would require is for the R to actually go to the scorer and "officially approve" the final results.

This would then allow coaches and players to unleash on the officials w/o fear of game ramifications.

Perfect.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 12:01pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biz
Here is a notice that was e-mailed to MIAA member schools. I apologize in advance for the length, but this e-mail clears up possible 2-5-7 issues in relation to the ceremonial handshake...
Mary Struckhoff strikes again.....

From the notice -With the advice and counsel of the National Federation Basketball Rules Editor, the following interpretation of NF Basketball Rule 2, Section, 5, Article 7 addresses this concern: "When the referee either signs the scorebook following the end of the game, or a non-verbal confirmation is exchanged between the referee and the official score, the score is then final and is considered approved."

Somebody should advise and counsel the National Federation Basketball Rules Editor to use the right damn rule. The applicable rule is rule 2-2-4, namely The jurisdiction of the officials is terminated and the final score has been approved when all officials have left the visual confines of the playing area."

If anybody takes a shot at an opponent in the handshake line, we sureashell can call something, and issue FT's if it affects the final score too. That's because the score hasn't been approved if we're still out on the court watching, no matter what wrong NFHS interpretation has been handed out. What then? Maybe after the FT's, we might end up with a tied game and have to play a few OT's. Then we'd get to watch a second handshake lineup.

Silly monkeys......
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 12:03pm
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It doesn't sound like the officials are shying away from "increased liability" on their part, but rather they [basically] want to retain the right to get the heck off the court. I wouldn't trust the head coaches or game management to provide safety, either.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 12:18pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inigo montoya
It doesn't sound like the officials are shying away from "increased liability" on their part, but rather they [basically] want to retain the right to get the heck off the court. I wouldn't trust the head coaches or game management to provide safety, either.
The officials did raise the liability issue in a letter to the MIAA -- specifically liability insurance. It said the insurance policy that IAABO has to cover Massachusetts officials is based on NFHS rules and mechanics. The insurance covers liability, medical fees and reimbursement for game fees assigned, but which cannot be worked because of an injury during a game. Since the MIAA is imposing a requirement not approved or sanctioned by the NFHS -- and one in which officials believe increases the risk of injury -- it is asking officials to take on a duty for which they have no coverage.

Now...I think that is a pile of manure...but I am not a liability lawyer or insurance underwriter. If I am injured as a direct consequence of working a game...I sure would expect the insurance to kick in. If I trip on the stairs going to the locker room...or slip on the shower floor...I certainly would file for a claim under this policy. Now, the insurance experts might say they have factored those risks into the policy and the premiums...but not this new added high-risk handshake watch...is possible.

As usual, the bureaucrats in the MIAA want us to clean up their act. They have the resources -- the teachers, coaches, ADs, administrators, etc. I am just a humble high school official, trained to deal with what happens on the basketball court. That's all I signed on to do. When the final horn sounds, I am looking for my partner and the shortest route to the locker room.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 12:24pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayStateRef
The officials did raise the liability issue in a letter to the MIAA -- specifically liability insurance. It said the insurance policy that IAABO has to cover Massachusetts officials is based on NFHS rules and mechanics. The insurance covers liability, medical fees and reimbursement for game fees assigned, but which cannot be worked because of an injury during a game. Since the MIAA is imposing a requirement not approved or sanctioned by the NFHS -- and one in which officials believe increases the risk of injury -- it is asking officials to take on a duty for which they have no coverage.

Now...I think that is a pile of manure...but I am not a liability lawyer or insurance underwriter. If I am injured as a direct consequence of working a game...I sure would expect the insurance to kick in. If I trip on the stairs going to the locker room...or slip on the shower floor...I certainly would file for a claim under this policy. Now, the insurance experts might say they have factored those risks into the policy and the premiums...but not this new added high-risk handshake watch...is possible.

As usual, the bureaucrats in the MIAA want us to clean up their act. They have the resources -- the teachers, coaches, ADs, administrators, etc. I am just a humble high school official, trained to deal with what happens on the basketball court. That's all I signed on to do. When the final horn sounds, I am looking for my partner and the shortest route to the locker room.
I understand that. I meant that the MIAA letter seems to say that the officials shouldn't be concerned over taking on liability for the post-game handshake and what may occur. To me, that wasn't the officials' concern to begin with. They are worried about who is liable for them.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 12:58pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaqwells
No, it doesn't clear up the 2-5-7 issues. It's an attempt to obfuscate them.
Let's use this email to interpret a situation:

After the final horn, the officials glance at the scorer to see if all is well. They get the thumbs up and start for the door. The winning coach decides to take this opportunity to release some profanities directed towards the officials. The coach's team is ahead by 1 point at this juncture.

According to this email, there's nothing the officials can do, yet that goes directly against an NFHS case play.
You're correct Snaq...what I should have said is that the email is attempting to clear up 2-5-7 issues.

The situation that you describe is definitely the crux of this issue, but I don't agree that the officials are powerless in this sitch, they just have no recourse as it pertains to that particular game. IOW the coach's profanities would be handled in the same manner as a coach yelling profanities at an official outside a dressing room.

BTW don't get me wrong I HATE this rule!!!! The MIAA likes to believe that they can govern every sport in the same exact way. Asking the officials to stay until after the handshake in soccer has been somewhat successful and they are trying to carry this over to all sports. Soccer is a different beast...officials are better served to stay on the sidelines until the crowd on the other side of the field (60 + yards away) has begun to disperse, much different then a small crowded gym where irate fans only need to go 30 ft.

Last edited by biz; Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 01:03pm.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 01:02pm
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At the end of games, when the teams pass each other slapping hands and saying "good game, good game, good game, etc", my son and his buddies would always say, "you suck, you suck, you suck". Strangely enough, they never got a reaction from the other guys other than laughter.

Of course, this was rec league.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 05:22pm
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Well, my neighbors to the north have certainly found themselves in an interesting situation.

I think the "policy" is BS for basketball. Frankly, the e-mail just makes it worse - misinterpreting NFHS rules and claiming that liability doesn't apply. Unfortunately, it's the courts that decide whether or not a ref is liable, not some staffer in the MIAA.

Finally, if a PDF titled "Sportsmanship Handshake Report Form" isn't a sign of the apocalypse, I don't know what is.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 05:25pm
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Dexter
Finally, if a PDF titled "Sportsmanship Handshake Report Form" isn't a sign of the apocalypse, I don't know what is.
How about coaches getting to "call" timeouts?
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 07:53pm
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Here is the post-game handshake protocol per the almighty Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.

http://www.miaa.net/Handshake-12-7.htm

Here's how I think I would handle it if I were forced to stick around for the post-game handshake...

Quote:
#4. Following the final horn, approve the final score as you normally would.
Since I normally approve the final score by leaving the visual confines of the playing area I would continue to do this and if some coach or player does something stupid I will assess technical fouls as necessary and we will clear the floor and shoot the FTs, if necessary. After that I would high-tail it out the gym approving the final score.

Now, the only problem I see with this, and it could be a big one, is my "plan" does not address the almost certain occurance of some idiot fan boy, at the very least, verbally accosting officials while they perform their all important duties of babysitting adults and highschool aged kids. I don't have an answer for this other than making sure site administration is right behind me during the handshakes.
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Old Fri Dec 07, 2007, 08:04pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayStateRef
The high school governing body in Massachusetts, the MIAA, has put in place a recommendation that game officials remain on the court at the end of a game to observe the handshake between teams. This "recommendation" will become a requirement next year -- for all team sports in Massachusetts.

The Massachsetts State Basketball Officials Assn. has decided it will not honor this request and has advised officials to "immediately exit the playing area" as has been the practice.

The officials have told the MIAA that if this requirement is going to be in place for the state tournament this season, the officials will not enroll in the MIAA and presumably not accept tournament games.

The vast majority of Massachusetts high school officials are IAABO members. IAABO has also advised officials not to remain on the court to observe the handshake. The officials say they are concerned for their safety and welfare of officials.

No word yet from the MIAA.
It would be a cold day in hell before I did this. Thank goodness I don't live in Massachusetts anymore, cause I hate ignoring state associations.

I did have a partner once who asked me whether we should stay, as the play had been slightly heated. My response was that if there was to be a punch thrown during post-game, I sureashell didn't want to see it and have to deal with it. That's what coaches and parents are for.
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