MHSAA’s oversight plan will mean better officials

Published 10:39 am Friday, February 2, 2007

By Staff
The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced recently that it has begun a test program to observe its sports officials.
We applaud this move by the MHSAA.
There are thousands of good officials working games throughout the state of Michigan. Unfortunately, the only ones we seem to hear about are the bad ones.
Southwest lower Michigan is fortunate to have a bevy of quality officials. Week in and week out the sports officials who work the games in our area do a good job.
Still, there are some officials out there that leave players, coaches and fans with a bad taste in their mouths.
We know that other state athletic associations have observation programs in place. The MHSAA seems to have been lagging behind when it comes to this arena.
The state will use its new program, which began in the fall, as a way to train and educate its registered officials.
Under its current system, the MHSAA uses a rating system that includes coaches and athletic directors. This program would be fine if those ratings weren't based upon what a coach thought was a good or bad call and by whether or not his or her team won or lost the game.
The new program needs to have approved officials associations to get on board. With their work, honest evaluations could be received by the MHSAA and areas of concern could be dealt with.
The MHSAA's test program began in the fall with football in western Michigan. According to MHSAA assistant director Mark Uyl, the program was a success.
The MHSAA has targeted basketball this winter and baseball, softball and soccer for the spring.
The response has been positive from both the observers and the observed.
We believe that quality officials will not object to constructive criticism. Those who are not good officials may not like the program, but it will be a way to make them better officials in the long run.
The goal of the MHSAA is to provide the best officiating for its sporting events. This is a positive step in that direction.
We support the MHSAA in their efforts to provide quality officials for its competitions. We hope this program is a huge success.