Jump to content
The Gridiron Digest
  • 0

How Are Officials Selected For, And Advanced Through, The Tournament?


Bobref
 Share

Question

This is the first of a 4-part post, the goals of which are:

  1. To inform those who do not know how official playoff selection and advancement works.
  2. In particular, to explain how the coaches' vote system works, both in theory and practice, and why it is the major determinant in an officiating crew's playoff advancement.
  3. To critically examine the coaches' vote system.
  4. To offer suggestions as to how the system might be improved to better achieve the articulated goals.

In this first post, I've attached an IHSAA public document which explain the process in summary fashion. There is another IHSAA document, publicly available, which goes into painstaking detail how each component of the selection process is calculated. And if I can figure out a way to get it to upload, I'll do that. But before we get too far into the weeds on the way the current process works, I'd like to hear from coaches, fans, officials, anyone out there who has an interest in seeing these games officiated well, in answer to the following question:

What goals should an official playoff selection and advancement process be designed to accomplish?

And, we might as well get straight from the outset, it is not the purpose of this discussion to serve as a b*tch session for officials who don't like the system and/or are unhappy with their playoff advancement. We will critically examine aspects of the current system. But we do so in the spirit of evaluating the current system in light of the goals we identify, and then discussing how the system might be improved.

Finally, there are a lot of really smart and experienced people out there who might know comparatively little about officiating, but know quite a bit about how to devise an evaluative process in order to further some articulated goals. I'd really like to hear some out of the box thinking from those people.

Tournament Official Assigning Policy Football.pdf

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

  • 1
14 minutes ago, Dirty D said:

That is not my question. If only 7 schools vote, and are all 2's and higher. You technically did not get enough votes. Would a one qualify you. Too many schools do not vote, that is why I am asking.

I believe a 1 vote counts as a vote.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Per the IHSAA from an email I read about another crew. You do not have to have a 90% to get a first round sectional if you meet all other qualifications. You just won't have that member if you advance to second round. I was surprised by that from the IHSAA.

On the voting, I think coaches should have three days to vote on their recent crew following the game they did. With all the technology that could easily be done. When they submit their film they do a quick vote. Too many coaches either don't vote or forget. Some schools the ADs vote and get no input from the coach others, the coach just doesn't vote. There should be a penalty for coaches who do not vote for anyone good or bad.

 

My question it says you must get 10 school votes. I have been told a "1" is not good. But is a "1" better than a no vote when counting towards the ten?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
16 minutes ago, Dirty D said:

My question it says you must get 10 school votes. I have been told a "1" is not good. But is a "1" better than a no vote when counting towards the ten?

If you’re getting “1” votes, you’re probably not going to need to be concerned about whether you’re getting enough votes to qualify.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

That is not my question. If only 7 schools vote, and are all 2's and higher. You technically did not get enough votes. Would a one qualify you. Too many schools do not vote, that is why I am asking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
1 hour ago, Dirty D said:

Per the IHSAA from an email I read about another crew. You do not have to have a 90% to get a first round sectional if you meet all other qualifications. You just won't have that member if you advance to second round. I was surprised by that from the IHSAA.

On the voting, I think coaches should have three days to vote on their recent crew following the game they did. With all the technology that could easily be done. When they submit their film they do a quick vote. Too many coaches either don't vote or forget. Some schools the ADs vote and get no input from the coach others, the coach just doesn't vote. There should be a penalty for coaches who do not vote for anyone good or bad.

 

My question it says you must get 10 school votes. I have been told a "1" is not good. But is a "1" better than a no vote when counting towards the ten?

All schools that play in the sectional have voted, it is called the coaches vote, and it should be the coaches but some AD's vote instead.  This is from the IHSAA winter Bulletin:

IX Entry List A. A school must certify all players on the sectional entry list but dress only 75 eligible players at each level of tourney. B. Member schools entering the football tournament series shall submit their entries to the IHSAA electronically at www.myihsaa.net. The entry is due no later than 4:00 p.m. Friday, October 11, 2019, without penalty. Member schools eligible to participate in the football tournament series may enter their team only after successful completion of the contest officials’ rating process. Failure to rate officials shall result in a $100 penalty to the school prior to their entry list being accepted. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
4 minutes ago, sr1 said:

All schools that play in the sectional have voted, it is called the coaches vote, and it should be the coaches but some AD's vote instead.  This is from the IHSAA winter Bulletin:

IX Entry List A. A school must certify all players on the sectional entry list but dress only 75 eligible players at each level of tourney. B. Member schools entering the football tournament series shall submit their entries to the IHSAA electronically at www.myihsaa.net. The entry is due no later than 4:00 p.m. Friday, October 11, 2019, without penalty. Member schools eligible to participate in the football tournament series may enter their team only after successful completion of the contest officials’ rating process. Failure to rate officials shall result in a $100 penalty to the school prior to their entry list being accepted. 

True, but incomplete. While a school must turn in a coaches’ vote, there is, to my knowledge, nothing in place that requires a school to vote for every crew they see. More on “sampling bias” in a subsequent post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
3 hours ago, Dirty D said:

On the voting, I think coaches should have three days to vote on their recent crew following the game they did.

This isn't a bad idea to both make sure coaches vote and actually remember which crew they are voting for. However, I would open that up beyond three days to let some emotions settle. We've had a case in the past where the coach had some concerns with our performance, both mechanically and judgmentally. After some correspondence our crew chief was able to explain to him what we had done correctly and what we had honestly missed. I believe this back and forth got us another point from this coach.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Please, these are all good thoughts, worthy of discussion. But let’s do this in an orderly fashion. It starts with answering a fundamental question: What goals should an official playoff selection and advancement process be designed to accomplish?

You can’t evaluate the present system, or suggest improvements, without having first decided what your goals are.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

If a crew gets only 7 votes the fact one of them is a 1 is not going to be factor in them advancing very far. Most crews get at least 20-30 votes. Some previously got 80-100 or more if they are well known. There is a new limitation this year allowing schools only to vote for crews who worked their games the last 3 years so the day of 80-100 votes for a crew are likely over.

The previous process allowed all schools to vote for all crews with a request to only vote for those you've seen in the last 3 years. Now that will be system controlled based on the scheduled crews in Arbiter or Eventlink. But there is no requirement all schools vote for all crews. Since their ballots will be limited to that group though it's more likely most will get votes. I'm not sure if the ballot indicated to the school which game the crew worked.

As for the goal, ultimately you want to make sure you are assigning the best crews with the later round games both for the benefit of the teams participating and rewarding the crews who are doing all the right things. There are many crews who do things the right way mechanically and manage the game well, but if they aren't well known they often do not advance beyond the first or second round. They may do all the things the IHSAA and observer program suggest and they work hard at being a good crew, but if they don't get the votes they don't advance. Meanwhile a crew that is well known often through non-football things like teacher/administrator or high level basketball official benefit from name recognition advances even though they don't follow standard mechanics and fail at administrative things like penalty enforcement.

For the most part though the crews advancing the past several years are good crews. But there is no incentive for crews to get better because that will likely have little impact on their ability to advance. You want a system that will reward you for doing things the right way. That is much easier said than done.

Best of luck to all the crews working the tournament. Be thankful for whatever games you work and congratulate those who are fortunate enough to advance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
12 hours ago, JustRules said:

For the most part though the crews advancing the past several years are good crews. But there is no incentive for crews to get better because that will likely have little impact on their ability to advance. You want a system that will reward you for doing things the right way. That is much easier said than done.

This is an important point, I believe. The playoff selection and advancement process can be used to make all officials raise their game -- and everyone benefits -- but only if officials perceive there is a direct link between advancement and becoming proficient in mechanics, rules knowledge, philosophy, etc. I do not believe that perception exists at present.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
12 hours ago, Bobref said:

This is an important point, I believe. The playoff selection and advancement process can be used to make all officials raise their game -- and everyone benefits -- but only if officials perceive there is a direct link between advancement and becoming proficient in mechanics, rules knowledge, philosophy, etc. I do not believe that perception exists at present.

I know, as a crew, we have made a concerted effort to study the heck out of the officials manual that, I assume that you had some input on.  It made us evaluate not what we call, but how we do it and how we look when it comes to presentation.  I know we have focused on our B and R triangulating in on a play at the sideline.  One game, a play was on the opposite side of me (I am the HL), and I watched both of them close in on the sideline, and it looked darn good.  We have noticed our game awareness increase and our confidence.  We feel like we have made that jump to be worthy of a sectional final.  We have been told as much by an observer, we just have to have a little bit of luck with the vote.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
On 10/12/2021 at 4:31 PM, JustRules said:

They may do all the things the IHSAA and observer program suggest and they work hard at being a good crew, but if they don't get the votes they don't advance. Meanwhile a crew that is well known often through non-football things like teacher/administrator or high level basketball official benefit from name recognition advances

My first year of officiating this was the #1 complaint I heard at association meetings, and it made me think, "Why even bother trying to get to state? I'd rather just work towards making the jump to college instead."

On 10/12/2021 at 3:21 PM, Bobref said:

What goals should an official playoff selection and advancement process be designed to accomplish?

IMO, the system needs to move away from crews/individuals being grandfathered in with a 50 and work more towards evaluating, especially in the playoffs. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
1 hour ago, Dirty D said:

I know in a few states after you get a State you have to start over and go through the steps again.

It has long been the policy in Indiana that, after a crew works a state final, the highest level they can achieve the following year is sectional final. They can then advance one level per year, if their score warrants, so that they are again eligible to work a final in 4 yrs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
1 hour ago, 5GetsYou1 said:

My first year of officiating this was the #1 complaint I heard at association meetings, and it made me think, "Why even bother trying to get to state? I'd rather just work towards making the jump to college instead."

IMO, the system needs to move away from crews/individuals being grandfathered in with a 50 and work more towards evaluating, especially in the playoffs. 

I have found these sentiments to be very common among current officials.

But we’re still focusing on means and methods. We need to first articulate the goals we want a playoff selection and advancement system to work toward. You can’t draw a road map without a destination. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The goal should be to be fair. If a crew works a state they should not be eligible for a state again until they meet the requirements of a first year sectional crew. How ever long it takes that crew it should take a crew to return to state. That is one of the reasons there are less officials and many crews that do not even apply for tourney because of this. We are in our fourth year and our ratings have been pretty good, we jump through all the hoops, watch the silly videos, go to meetings where many times they are talking about things other than football (one meeting I was part of talked about drinking alcohol throughout the entire meeting as well as the cussing used), pay an association fee and not get more than a first round sectional. It is not worth, we may as well be a crew that just works Friday reg. season. Not jump through the hoops and not be held as accountible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
38 minutes ago, Dirty D said:

The goal should be to be fair. If a crew works a state they should not be eligible for a state again until they meet the requirements of a first year sectional crew. How ever long it takes that crew it should take a crew to return to state. That is one of the reasons there are less officials and many crews that do not even apply for tourney because of this. We are in our fourth year and our ratings have been pretty good, we jump through all the hoops, watch the silly videos, go to meetings where many times they are talking about things other than football (one meeting I was part of talked about drinking alcohol throughout the entire meeting as well as the cussing used), pay an association fee and not get more than a first round sectional. It is not worth, we may as well be a crew that just works Friday reg. season. Not jump through the hoops and not be held as accountible.

Fair is such a subjective term though. Generally in any assignment system I've seen those who don't advance consider the system unfair. States that use observers or association assigners for the post-season are accused of picking their friends or being an old-boys club. That doesn't exist in our system because a mass of people are voting for a mass of crews. A number is assigned to your crew based on those criteria and that number is used to a fault. There is some popularity involved, but it's not a small group of people picking the people they want.

They kind of do go through the same process. Just like any new crew they are only eligible for a sectional final the next year. The one difference is they have a little head start on points because of past tournament experience. That's generally not why they advance further though. The bigger reason is because they often get 80-100 votes and you get maybe 20-30. The vast majority of those extra votes are going to be 5s because they are friendly votes from people who know them from various ways (other sports, school administrators, association leaders, assigners, etc.). That increases their rating much more than the 50 the other crew got for previously working a state final. It will be interesting to see if limiting the number of votes this year has an impact for some crews.

Don't consider the advancement of your crew as an actual assessment of the time and effort you put into the season and quality of your performance. That's not what the current system is doing. Control what you can control and be happy for those who get to advance. They are working just as hard as you trying to be the best crew they can be. I'm not a fan of the current system at all, but I can't do much to change it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
1 hour ago, Bobref said:

But we’re still focusing on means and methods. We need to first articulate the goals we want a playoff selection and advancement system to work toward. You can’t draw a road map without a destination. 

This is where the double edge sword of the conversation comes in. For playoff selection and advancement, in theory, you'd want the most qualified and eligible crews to advance. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Well you can't get experience if you do not get selected. We again did not get one and we as a crew are done playing this game. We will wait to see what our votes looked like this year and move on whenever they come out, but I am in my fifties and this process is not beneficial to young guys or old guys. So I am done doing the meetings and pay the association fees. I will just work our games we have for the next three seasons and be done with trying to brown nose the right person. You look at who gets sectionals in all sprots and its the same guys year in year out many times the same guys from sport to sport. Yet there is those that say the good ole boys club does not exist.. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

In terms of goals, I was thinking more along these lines, as examples, and in no particular order of priority:

  • To reward officiating performance appropriately
  • To incentivize officials to develop and adopt best officiating practices
  • To select and assign officials to the tournament at levels commensurate with officiating performance
  • To decrease the likelihood of officiating error materially affecting a contest at each level of the tournament
  • To serve as part of a recruitment and retention strategy as a response to the shortage of officials

Any of these a good or bad idea? Others? C’mon, I know we have a lot of smart people out there. This part of the process is less about officiating and more like Management 101.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

The number one goal should somehow get schools to vote. That is what should be figured out. I just talked to IHSAA and our crew did not receive a sectional only because school votes. He said all votes we received were good, but we did not receive too many. I wonder if our problem is we did smaller schools and some Charter schools and they may not have voted. I know last year four of the IPS charter schools did not vote. If so much emphasis is going to be on the school votes then, something should be done to encourage them to vote. As a new crew when you have only been together for a few years and the same schools want you back you are limited to who gets to vote for you. Looking at we only have had about 30 total school worked for in 3 years. That eliminates several votes and then when some choose to pay the fine and not vote we pay the price. Maybe find an incentive for the schools that vote. I think that is where it starts. We were observed, went well, met all requirements, did some 4A to !A games, the votes we got were good and yet it all came down to coaches who just did not vote.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
1 hour ago, Dirty D said:

The number one goal should somehow get schools to vote. That is what should be figured out. I just talked to IHSAA and our crew did not receive a sectional only because school votes. He said all votes we received were good, but we did not receive too many. I wonder if our problem is we did smaller schools and some Charter schools and they may not have voted. I know last year four of the IPS charter schools did not vote. If so much emphasis is going to be on the school votes then, something should be done to encourage them to vote. As a new crew when you have only been together for a few years and the same schools want you back you are limited to who gets to vote for you. Looking at we only have had about 30 total school worked for in 3 years. That eliminates several votes and then when some choose to pay the fine and not vote we pay the price. Maybe find an incentive for the schools that vote. I think that is where it starts. We were observed, went well, met all requirements, did some 4A to !A games, the votes we got were good and yet it all came down to coaches who just did not vote.

This is also something I hear from a lot of officials. But it’s still not a goal. The vote is simply a component of the process. The overriding question is “what are you designing the process to accomplish?” Think big picture, long term. We’ll talk details later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
On 10/14/2021 at 1:50 PM, Dirty D said:

The number one goal should somehow get schools to vote. That is what should be figured out. I just talked to IHSAA and our crew did not receive a sectional only because school votes. He said all votes we received were good, but we did not receive too many. I wonder if our problem is we did smaller schools and some Charter schools and they may not have voted. I know last year four of the IPS charter schools did not vote. If so much emphasis is going to be on the school votes then, something should be done to encourage them to vote. As a new crew when you have only been together for a few years and the same schools want you back you are limited to who gets to vote for you. Looking at we only have had about 30 total school worked for in 3 years. That eliminates several votes and then when some choose to pay the fine and not vote we pay the price. Maybe find an incentive for the schools that vote. I think that is where it starts. We were observed, went well, met all requirements, did some 4A to !A games, the votes we got were good and yet it all came down to coaches who just did not vote.

Simple fix we started doing many years ago, if you don’t vote, we don’t work there. I have never sent emails/snail mail to coaches/AD’s, never told anyone how to vote. When I give coaches my card in pregame and yes it’s even printed in my card, “Please vote for tournament officials”. I used to bail out a small rural school near me on lower level games, AD called me one day needing help and I told him I can’t do it, you didn’t vote for us for the last several years and we have a policy if you don’t vote we no longer work there. I have not worked at that school since, but they have vote for us ever since. This is just one example. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I know of a few instances where the lack of school votes has hurt a crew. If your crew is under a new crew chief under this current system, you have to rely on write-in votes since you do not have a 3 year history of games. This could be a big problem if you do not reach out yourself to previous AD's/coaches and inform them that a write in is required for the vote. I am sure this can/will be fixed in the future, but this is the biggest flaw I see in the new change.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I think that the first thing we need to do is to create a system of evealuation for officials.  Schools and coaches "voting" is NOT the answer and should not be a determining factor in choosing qualified officials for torunament advancement.  Popularity, of a crew chief or other members of the crew shouldn't be the deciding reasons for any official advancing through the post season.  While the professionalism and like-ability of a crew should be considered - it should just be one factor in the criteria.

Setting the criteria for what officials do during live games can be difficult, to say the least.

Let's start with:

1)  Rules knowledge - test scores can be used as an initial measurement.  2)  Professionalism - uniform appearance of the entire crew.  Uniform behavior (on time physical appearance, etc. of the entire crew.  3) In game performance evaluation by IHSAA observer - including execution of duties, positioning and situational comportment (how does an official react under stress).  4)  Head Coaches evaluation within 3-weeks of contest. A cool-down period after an emotional contest might be a good idea to be more objective. 

Have a minimum set number of live-game evaluations - start with 2 per year.  Each position would be required to be evaluated according to a set of basic criteria.  Bobref once put together a form for just such an evealuation for the LCAOA a few years ago.  Something like his form could be a starting point.

Crews scoring in the upper half of the total evaluations should then be observed by an official state observer (or oberservers) during a live sectional contest and scored.  Crews performing well should then advance to later rounds based on their scores.

*These are just a few suggestions off the top of my head for creating a formal advancement system.  Does anyone know how evaluations are done in FBS-Level NCAA???

My sincere feelings is that things have slowly become much more standardized and measurable under Asst Commisioner Faulkens.  I would love to see the trend continue and also see the role of the officials' observers grow in the coming years.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...