New to officiating? Here’s how to get started!
Step 1: Register with the MHSAA
- Register Online, which you can do here.
- Take the Officials Guidebook Exam & Mechanics Exam if registering football and/or basketball
- Once you have met all the requirements, you will receive your Officials ID Number & Rules Books
Step 2: Contact/Join HVOA
Since you’re on our website, you’re already halfway there! Being a Member in Good Standing (MIGS) is one of the requirements to work in the MHSAA post-season tournament. More importantly, an association is the best place to receive training and to surround yourself with other officials who are committed to getting better!
You can join the HVOA here, and you can find contact information on the individual sport pages.
Step 3: Contact Assignors
As an official, you are an independent contractor. Assignors are employed by their conferences to assign officials to games. You can talk to the trainers in your specific sports to find out which assignors you should be contacting.
Ideally, you should get in contact with assignors 4-6 months before the season starts, since many assignors begin scheduling games that far in advance. Many assignors prefer to see an official work before they feel confident scheduling them for games, and the summer (at camps and clinics) is often a good place to get seen by assignors. If you weren’t able to contact assignors that far in advance, don’t worry! Just get in contact with the assignor (in a polite, professional manner) as soon as possible and let them know that you are a new official and you are looking to work some games.
Step 4: Buy the Uniform
Each sport has their own uniform and equipment. Below are some popular officiating stores you can visit. For new officials, the starter package is often a great way to buy all of your required equipment at a slightly discounted price. You should also contact your sport trainer(s) to see if there are specific things that you do/don’t need to purchase.
Extra Steps and Tips
- Find a mentor: having a more experienced official you can talk to about questions and concerns is a great tool to help you improve as an official. Talking about rules and plays and philosophies makes everyone better, and most veteran officials are thrilled to help newer officials improve.
- Get in the rulebook: knowledge of the rules is something that is entirely in your control as an official. Some things (judgment, game management) will only come with experience, but rules knowledge is something that you can work on for yourself!