Now is a great time to get off the bench and back into the game by becoming an official. In conjunction with its 100-year celebration, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) is launching an initiative to recruit and retain sports officials.
The theme of this program is “100 Years – Honoring the Past by Ensuring the Future.”
Officials have been an integral part of the first century of service for the MSHSL. There is a need for more officials in many activities, and more importantly, there is a need to train and prepare officials to ensure quality officiating for the next century.
This initiative calls on officials, officials associations, and MSHSL member schools to actively recruit individuals in an effort to guide them along the path to become quality officials.
Registration of officials is currently underway. Registration fees for first- and second-year officials have been reduced. Incentives have also been established that will reward officials and member schools that recruit new officials.
The program continues in the fall when officials associations renew their efforts to mentor new officials and member schools work with the League to provide a better environment for officials.
“Research shows that sportsmanship issues are the leading case of officials to discontinue their service and is also a major hurdle when recruiting new officials,” said MSHSL Associate Director Kevin Merkle, who oversees the officials programs. “Treating officials with respect is important if we are to keep, and develop, officials of high quality.”
Students and adults, male and female, are encouraged to consider becoming an official. Officiating is a great way to stay involved with the game(s) you loved to play and provides an excellent opportunity to give back to those activities and assist in teaching life lessons to high school students.
Contact your local high school, park and recreation department, or youth athletic association to find out how you can become involved at the youth level. For those interested in becoming varsity officials, go to www.mshsl.org and click on the “Become an Official” logo at the bottom of the home page. Fill out a simple form and MSHSL staff will contact you and help you to connect with those who can provide you assistance.
There’s never been a better time to get back in the game.
For more information, please contact Jason Nickleby, MSHSL Coordinator of Officials, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763-392-5551.