The MPA’s All Sports Officials Advisory Committee meets four times per year bringing representatives from all of the MPA-governed sports to discuss trends, common interests, and other topics related the sports officials and sports officials associations within the state. This committee is different from the individual sports committees.

NOTES from 3-11-2020  MPA ALL SPORTS OFFICIALS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

May 20, next meeting date 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Spring sports may be impacted by coronavirus.

Many more schools will be going to Arbiter Pay this coming 2020-21 school year. Draw back is that with the Arbiter, the 1099 that is generated by the Arbiter, it lumps all of the pay together, so even if you only work one event at that school and it is well below the $599 amount set by the IRS for reporting, it is reflected on that 1099.

Despite what the MPA discussed at our last meeting in November of 2019, we are probably not going to have a flat fee for all officials of all sports. They are gearing up for negotiations for match fees in 2021 instead. One official from the MPA said that he felt hockey should be the highest paid officials because he went to a game and was impressed at how much they had to skate.

Some sports officials have negotiated a “riding fee” with their payments so that officials that carpool are getting some money in mileage even if they’re not the ones driving. My opinion is that it is not something we want to work towards. I do not want to be forced into carpooling or having to explain my reasons for not carpooling to anyone.

The MPA is encouraging officials associations to come up with a plan to attract high school kids and younger to become interested in officiating. There was a brief discussion about creating some sort of curriculum for high school classes that maybe could be counted as a PE requirement. The MPA said that they didn’t want to get into it that far, but that if some sort of curriculum could be packaged perhaps it could work through the local recreation departments. Currently we don’t have enough lower level (middle school) matches where we could work with high school kids to officiate. But if that changes any time soon we should consider that.

 

In Maine we already have a fairly widely used system through the JO clubs, as players have the opportunity to officiate during the USAV season. There may be some outreach we could offer to those kids (and their parents) who want to learn more about becoming an official.

Jeff Benson, at the MPA, spoke about the need for, and the potential creation of an “Official’s Assault Bill” in the Maine State Legislature. There was one such bill proposed about 10 years ago that never even got to the committee stage. However, Benson said that he has been in conversation with a state legislator about crafting a bill for Maine. Twenty-seven states currently have similar laws already in place.

Non-preferred list for playoffs.

This topic isn’t going away anytime soon, and the MPA is adamant that they are not budging on their policy.

   Currently high school varsity coaches submit a list of up to eight preferred officials and two that CANNOT be assigned for playoff contests. The CANNOT be assigned can be for any reason, and will not be disclosed to the assignor.

   Our list of eligible officials should be submitted to the MPA as early as possible, and no later than four weeks prior to the start of the playoffs. Some sports submit theirs as early as mid-September.

   Currently the determining factors for eligibility of any official is up to the individual associations. But we should have a written policy in place as soon as possible. That list should be confidential to the assignor.

   The individual associations cannot be involved with the MPA pertaining to decisions involving a banned official.

   The officials banned from officiating for volleyball, for example, would only mean banned for the positions of R1 and R2, and an official banned by a school could still be considered for the LJ or SK positions at those matches, if the host school hires those positions during playoffs.

   The eligibility list cannot be provided as ranked from highest to lowest, or vice versa. Alphabetically is the method of listing those eligible.

   We should also strongly take into consideration any conflict of interest when making assignments, and officials should be asked (probably put in writing) for a list of any schools for which they have a conflict (alumni, kids in that school, employment with that school or district, are examples of such conflicts). However, school employees are not eligible to work playoffs or finals for the school or system for which they work.

   Some state officials associations have a mandatory “rotation” for those working playoffs or finals. Such as, if an official works a state finals event that officials cannot be assigned another state finals for a certain length of time. The overall consensus from coaches, however, seems to be that they want the best officials available. The MPA has no stated position on this.

   As an example; MASO (soccer) uses qualifications for tournament assignments: scores on test, fitness level, experience, number of matches/games worked, higher level of officiating training, etc. They use experienced officials as assessor/rater/evaluator (as well as retired officials to come up with those assessments).

   

Officials registering with the MPA?

Currently we don’t register officials with/through the MPA. That may be changing at some time in the future, when the MPA adopts the use of a new sports management platform through the NFHS called Dragonfly.

   I think one of the eventual goals of adopting to Dragonfly will be to centralize the annual registration process, and help them keep track of who is officiating their events. It was mentioned that such a process would streamline the background/fingerprinting requirement.

   On July 1, 2020, the MPA is changing their internal sports management technology to “Our Schools Today/Dragonfly,” through the Center of Officiating Services. Currently it is not available for assigning, although it is coming, and that seems to be the major selling point for associations/assignors--getting away from the Arbiter system.

  Right now, the NFHS and their state association affiliates are paying an annual fee of $750,000 to use the Arbiter. The NFHS has decided that that money would be better spent in developing another platform that would accomplish much more for the schools, and simplify their processes.

   It is not certain if it will be possible to integrate the Arbiter with this new platform, and to my knowledge, no discussion has been made as to how(or if) assignors and officials already using the Arbiter for high school AND college schedules will be able to adapt to a new platform.

   As of 3-11-2020 the MPA is not saying that individual state officials associations would be mandated to use the Dragonfly system. But that seemed kind of like a warning or a heads up.

   There is an online webinar scheduled for March 26, at 3 p.m. for anyone interested in learning what this is and how it works.

Currently MASO (soccer) uses and established list of qualifications for tournament assignments: scores on test, fitness level, experience, number of matches/games worked, higher level of officiating training, etc. They use experienced officials as assessor/rater/evaluator (as well as retired officials to come up with those assessments).

Boys Lacrosse officials association applied for, and got a grant of $1,000 for communication devices for training, and for use by officials during their games. Field hockey also uses wireless communication devices for training

POSTED: March 12, 2020

Jeff Scully

MAVO Liaison to the MPA Volleyball Committee

MAVO Liaison to the MPA All Sports Officials Advisory Committee