Dear Game Officials,
As you may have heard from your officiating associations, the member schools of the MIAA will be implementing a background check policy for game officials beginning with the 2015-16 school year. We have been developing this policy since October 2013 and have had meaningful discussions about the reasons for how to best implement it. I believe the result is a comprehensive policy that, first and foremost, establishes a uniform set of criteria under which all 8,000+ officials in the state will be treated fairly and equitably.
We were pleased that 120 leaders of officiating boards attended the MIAA Background Check for Officials Summit on April 29 at Medway High School. The meeting gave us the opportunity to discuss the policy development and implementation protocols for background checks of officials. It also afforded us the opportunity to answer some important questions from those in attendance.
As we move forward in this process, please know that the member schools of the MIAA are committed to not only providing all pertinent information to officials, but also ensuring that there is an open line of communication between officiating groups and the MIAA.
One significant change is that officiating boards will no longer be registering their members as a group. Officials will be individually registering through ArbiterSports. This registration will afford each of you the opportunity to submit payment for the background check, select membership in your specific board and enroll/register for your sport(s) with the MIAA. The cost for a background check and to register for one sport will be $45; each additional sport registration will be $10.
It is very important that you are aware of the deadlines associated with the various sports seasons. Registration will be open at miaa.arbitersports.com starting June 15, 2015. The deadline for fall sports is July 31, winter sports Oct. 1 and spring sports Jan. 1. Please note there is nothing preventing you from registering early, regardless of your season. As an official, you are able to register at any time during the year. The background check procedure is expected to take up to two weeks to complete, and there are time frames built in for appeals. It would be in everyone’s best interest for officials to not wait until the last minute to register.
This policy came about in response to a request from MIAA member schools. While the MIAA only selects officials for tournament games, the list of approved officials will be available to assigners throughout the state. Schools and leagues have stated that they will be requiring assigners to use this approved list when making regular-season assignments.
Please find attached a copy of the policy as well as FAQs and a PowerPoint presentation from the April 29 meeting. Should you have further questions, we would encourage you to communicate them to your board leadership, who in turn can reach out and seek further clarification.
As was mentioned at the April 29 meeting, the MIAA and its member schools greatly value the contributions of officials and truly look upon the relationship as a partnership. We believe that implementing one comprehensive policy benefits officials and the member schools of the MIAA.
Richard L. Pearson
Associate Executive Director
MSSAA & MIAA