Concerns and Considerations
December 18, 2018
To Georgia’s High School Administrators, Athletic Directors, and Coaches:
During the 2018 football end of regular season, four GHSA games had to be rescheduled and a football officials’ crew from Tennessee had to be brought in because not enough football officials who met GHSA criteria for regular-season play were available. This is a serious problem for all of us. The GAOA is focusing on recruitment and retention of high school officials, and it needs your help to meet this important challenge. The impact of our growing need for officials is already evident from the incidents mentioned above. If this trend is not reversed, the consequences will be felt increasingly on several fronts.
1. The state of Georgia’s passion for high school football has driven the quality of its competition to national prestige. Georgia football annually contributes to an impressive percentage of the nation’s elite teams and talent, and Georgia routinely ranks among the top five states that place high school football players on college rosters, a source of state pride, opportunity for many outstanding athletes, and a huge economic boost to the state’s economy. We do not want our hard-earned reputation to be tarnished.
2. The money generated by football also helps support other school sport programs that are not financially self-sufficient as well as providing employment for additional coaches and assistant coaches.
3. The need for officials is growing not only in football, but in other athletic programs also.
How Can You Help:
1. Encourage your athletes to consider officiating when they have graduated!
Keep in mind the students who love the sport they play but who will not play at the next level. Officiating is a great way for them to stay involved and to contribute to high school athletics in Georgia. There are over 600 high schools across Georgia that field ten to twelve teams each. Some of those athletes will compete in college, and some, perhaps because of your influence, will eventually become coaches. Officiating provides another way for young people to remain involved and with your encouragement, some may officiate.
2. Point out positive aspects of officiating: Officials make an important contribution; without them there cannot be competition. And being an official can provide additional income, an opportunity and motivation to stay in good physical shape, and a way to remain part of the sports community.
3. Take an active and positive stance on issues that discourage young would-be officials. Model professional behavior in the way you treat officials, and, in the way, you speak about them in front of your students. Insist that your athletes follow the guidelines set out for fair and safe play.
Those interested in officiating can visit www.ghsa.net, click on “officials” on the right-side top banner, then in the dropdown box click on “Association Contacts”; these are listed alphabetically by sport.
By passing along this information, you may open a rewarding door for some of your players and help resolve a problem faced in Georgia amateur athletics.
High-level high school football needs high-level officials; however, new, young officials are increasingly difficult to recruit. Please help meet this challenge.