Schools struggle with fairness in high school officiating

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  • eagle Provo, UT
    Feb. 21, 2013 6:51 p.m.

    The Ghost:

    Now how about your son?

    Mothers, fight for your sons tp make sure they get their fair opportunities!

  • The Ghost salem, UT
    Feb. 21, 2013 2:51 p.m.

    I could no sooner tell my daughter to forget her hopes and dreams because the boys get preference. Please! Sure the outside world is harsh and sometimes unfair, but, I will fight to the death anyone who says boys opportunites should come first and formost and take the lion's share of the money. This is coming from a father. I all so announce the games and these young women are great athletes, and quite honestly fun to watch. EVERYONE I repeat EVERYONE deserves the support to succed in doing something that they love. That is the lesson that we as parents, administrators, and fans should remember.

  • Rural sport fan DUCHESNE, UT
    Feb. 21, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    None of this matters unless the UHSAA actually starts TRAINING the refs. The reality is, if a ref can pass the paper test, and that's an open book test by the way, then he/she gets to ref high school ball, and for most of the state NO ONE is checking their ability to see or make calls, nor their ability to handle situations or interpret rules consistently.

    The umpires that do ASA softball in the summer get FAR more hands on and high level training and supervision, and they get paid FAR less per game than the UHSAA refs.

    The coaches and parents of this state should be demanding better from the UHSAA in this regard, it isn't a mater of boys vs girls, or 5A vs 1A, it is a matter of the UHSAA simply doing a ludicrously poor job of taking care of business, as usual.

  • scotsrock Ogden, UT
    Feb. 20, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    I am a 3A boys varsity basketball coach... I would love to have three officals every game. There are a lot of things that happen off ball that two officials simply cant see. Its not because they are bad officials, but rather there is so much area to cover, and it is hard to do. I personally think officiating in general has gotten better over the last 3 years. Just my opinion..

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Feb. 19, 2013 8:27 p.m.


    Sure, there are other reasons that wrestling programs have been dropped. Still, the reasons are most often tied with Title IX. When a school needs to satisfy quotas and eliminate a male program, budget of the program becomes a factor, community interest in the program becomes a factor, competitive success becomes a factor, etc. But most often the program was put on the table because of Title IX. Further, again look at most every athletic program at the vast, vast majority of our universities and colleges. They have more female sports, some quite substantially. Again, because of the football factor, schools have to balance the quota sheet and male sports are eliminated while sometimes female opportunities like bowling and rowing teams are created, though the quality of athletes compared to their male counterparts is extremely low.

    Also, look at how many wrestling and other male programs were eliminated from 1963 to 1973. See how many were eliminated the ten years after Title IX.

    Indeed, we can come with philosophical whatevers, but I don't see a trend and then when the college presidents and A.D.'s openly admit it, one must come to that conclusion.

  • stripes Sandy, UT
    Feb. 19, 2013 9:38 a.m.


    Your comments seem to reflect the majority of subvarsity officials...we are as good as they are, someone else is to blame for my shortcomings, the man is holding me down, etc.

    You clearly do not understand how the ranking/moving up process works. You have chapter representatives who represent your interests at the Quad Board level (who is responsible for ranking officials).

    I too am a UHSAA certified official, I am routinely scheduled with the *new* varsity officials and MANY of them are not ready for primetime and as I watch the subvarsity officials work the games before mine, I am glad those officials do not work with me. Is that Mike Petty's fault? Where does your individual responsibility come into the process? What are you doing to get better (aside from trying to get Mike to notice you at camp)? There simply is not a glut of qualified officials that are being held down to keep others working games. Utah, like every other state in the nation, needs more quality officials.

  • JAMMER Ogden, UT
    Feb. 19, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    I am a UHSAA Certified basketball official. I really like the concept of a three man crew because it gives me the opportunity to learn from more experienced officials. However, in regards to the quality of officials has to deal with evaluations and scheduling. There are a lot of sub-varsity officials that should be officiating the varsity level. The only way to move up to the varsity level are through evaluations and having Mr. Petty notice you at a camp. Last season, I was frustrated because I was only evaluated twice and my goal is to officiate at the varsity level, boys or girls. Second, there are two separate rankings for boys and girl officials. An official can be a level 100 girls official and be a level 400 boys official. Both are varsity level rankings but are rated differently. Thirdly, Mike Petty is the one who schedules the majority of the varsity games. He has been known to hand pick officials for certain games. If everyone wants equality in boys and girls officiating, you need to look at the top with Mr. Petty, not the officials themselves.

  • stripes Sandy, UT
    Feb. 19, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    @Speak English

    Get your facts straight. The 4A/5A coaches did not vote. The Administrators/Athletic Directors voted and a re-vote came about because the coaches asked to keep 3 officials. Most of the coaches I spoke to were never consulted about the vote prior to it happening. Most coaches who have had three officials do not want to go back to 2.

    The other unintended consequence of going back to 2 officials that was not explored was the number of current top ranked officials who would retire rather than go back to 2 official games. This will not stop games from happening, but the quality of officiating will definitely go WAAAAAY down.

  • Springvillepoet Springville, UT
    Feb. 19, 2013 7:05 a.m.


    Here's your link. Deseret News will not let people post links (which is fine with me) but simply search for the on-line Forbes article celebrating the 40th birthday of Title IX. Participation among women in sports went from 1 in 27 in 1972 to 1 in 4 in 1974, while participation of boys stayed the same at 1 in 2. Is Forbes a good enough source for you?

    You are absolutely right. Saying it's so doesn't make it so. But you have to at least consider Title IX is not the only reason college wrestling programs have dwindled.

  • Scandrus Cedar Hills, Utah
    Feb. 19, 2013 6:08 a.m.

    Of course the officials prefer a 3 man crew, it means they don't have to run nearly as far or move their feet as much to get in position. I am amazed at how many horrible high school officials there are, I see far too many old men who are out of shape and unable to keep up with the game and constantly out of position to make the correct call.

    Women's games are actually much less demanding physically for officials because the women are so much slower but they do slap the tar out of each other on every play. The fact is they don't pay enough to develop good officials and there isn't enough demand for the job so they can institute much accountability.

  • CobraCommander Orem, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 11:15 p.m.

    Speak English-USA is exactly right. That comment should have an article written about it. The coaches did vote it out, the uhsaa did ignore it, and there is a lot more to this than is being told. The Tuesday/Thursday and Wednesday/Friday solution would solve a lot of these issues as well.
    Very simple solutions but not what people in administration and positions of power want to hear for some reason.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 9:33 p.m.


    Despite the philosophical lesson offered, I'll go with the words of the many athletic directors and college presidents that have cut hundreds of wrestling and other men's programs. They said it was Title IX considerations and that is that.

  • SS MiddleofNowhere, Utah
    Feb. 18, 2013 8:59 p.m.

    @ springvillepoet,
    Title IX has everything to do with the huge decrease in college wrestling programs.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Feb. 18, 2013 8:40 p.m.

    Lack of quality officials has nothing to do with Title IX and everything to do with the fact that officials are constantly berated by coaches and parents in everything they do. Officiating is the only job in the world where you can do it perfectly and 50% of the people who were there still think you did a horrible job.

    Want more and better refs? Stop verbally assaulting them.

  • mikeyd Millville, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 6:32 p.m.


    So I can tell you the same thing. You have shown no link between the 800% increase in participation and the inception of title IX. You use the same fallacy as Howard Beal speaking on wrestling. Ask any athletic director at a university why they don't have a wrestling program and they will tell you that title IX limits their ability to do so. And please understand that I have two young daughters, so I am all for increased opportunities for girls. But I also have two sons who wrestle, so I don't enjoy seeing their college opportunities decreased.

  • FatMan86 West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    I hope someone can explain exactly when fairness ends and equality begins. Or perhaps where equality ends and entitlement begins. It's not as easy as you might think.

    Do we really want all of our young people moving out into the world as adults with the expectation that everything has to be equal? I'm pretty certain that life will teach them a far different lesson.

  • SportsDad Roosevelt, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    As a high school coach and certified UHSAA referee I find it entertaining that people are surprised by the lack of good referees. In my opinion it has very little to do with pay or equal rights. The coaches, fans, and players need to look at themselves and display sportsmanship above all, win or lose. New referees do not like to get yelled at over every call. Then, young people (men and women) that could be good referees would enter the profession.

  • Speak English - USA West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 1:41 p.m.

    The 4A and 5A boys coaches took a vote last year and voted 3 man out. The UHSAA took the results and flushed them, and made an in house decision to keep 3 man going. Having a 3 man crew is pointless, as the article states, 2 man does the same job for less money. If you are one that wants equality, you need two things:

    1. Boys and girls both do 2 man crews.
    2. Have girls games on Tues/Thurs and boys on Wed/Fri to open up more good officials.

    Pretty simple fix, but it won't happen as long as the UHSAA has their own agenda.

  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    Feb. 18, 2013 12:59 p.m.

    I can see why this is not a simple issue. It is really several issues.

    Quality officials available for any game.
    More efficient evaluation of play.
    Costs---home officials vs. away officials---associated bias and travel

    In my opinion each issue should be addressed alone. I have a solution for the quality issue.

    The quality of officials for each game, (boys, girls, JV, Varsity, whatever) should be addressed by whoever provides quality control and training of officials. The contract should include a statement that participation in officiating will be without limits as to games worked and assignments should be made according to a next up wheel or graph. I recognize there can be occasional conflicts but they should be the exception and should be contractually limited so that a referee can not pick and choose boys over girls or local or travel or even time of day or day worked. Even working a part-time job at Burger King is subject to the needs of the employer and the employee must regularly adjust his or her other life parts to accommodate the job. And those doing the certification of officials need to monitor for bias and eliminate those so inclined.

  • SundanceKid27 OREM, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    I want to know when they will mandate that Cheerleading and Dance will have the same amount of Boys and Girls.

  • baldcoach Blanding, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    Now about officials. One of the biggest problems I see from many of the officials that work both girls and boys games is that they think there is a different set of rules. Girls aren't allowed to block shots, or make the same moves as boys do without a whistle blowing. Tie ups are blown faster in girls games than boys games. I appreciate the thankless job that officials have. Spreading officials thinner to do three man crews will hurt until we can get more officials that see past gender. If an official turns down girls to do boys they shouldn't be allowed to do any boys games.
    Here is another question. What about the schools that aren't in SLC and Provo. One thing that wasn't mentioned in the article is mileage officials get paid. Adding $51 x 9 home games is adding $450 more dollars in expenses to programs. That doesn't include milage.

  • baldcoach Blanding, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    RE: justmythoughts no sure what you are trying to say. Surely you aren't saying that San Juan gets the benefit from the officials. If that was the case well we won't go there.
    I totally agree with the person that said if there are no more fouls being called and games don't take longer with three officials then why switch. Title IX is a huge benefit for women's sports. I agree that there are some that choose the sleezy way to make sure things are equitable by getting rid of male programs.
    Yes people don't attend women's sports as much as they do men's. When they do go it usually isn't to cheer but rather to point out the differences and shortcomings of the woman's game. Why not understand that while it might differ it can be just as exciting. I see scores from boys games in 30's and no one complains. It was good defense. If girls games are in the 30's it is because girls can't play. HMMM whats the difference. Go watch a girls game from a simple fans point of veiw. You might be surprised.

  • Wolverine33 Provo, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    If the girls went back to playing Tuesday & Thursday and the boys on Wednesday & Friday, the best officials could be shared.

  • Springvillepoet Springville, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 10:20 a.m.


    That is a logical fallacy known as Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. You have shown no link between Title IX and the fewer numbers of wrestling programs in universities. Simply because you can count the decline of wrestling programs since Title IX, does not mean Title IX caused that decline. I could do the same thing, saying Title IX is responsible for the decrease in men's professional bowling, but it doesn't make it so.

    It's a strange coincidence you picked wrestling, seeing the Olympics just cancelled wrestling from its roster of events, but to blame the decline of men's athletic programs such as wrestling on Title IX is poor logic and laughable.

  • JBQ Saint Louis, MO
    Feb. 18, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    It all depends on what the meaning of "is" is. This is pure and simple an issue with Title IX. There were two ways to interpret Title IX. One is a straight quota system. The second was based on the number of students requesting to participate in athletics. With the hormones involved, that would be about 10-1 at every level. Instead, it became a socialist issue with a hidden agenda. As a graduate of Saint Louis University, I watched SLU drop a more than viable ice hockey program and the dismantling of a very good womens' field hockey program in addition to wiping out a club football program in the name of Title IX. Most universities offer 120 football scholarships. Boston College only offers 85 because of Title IX matching restrictions. Most women want to have a husband and have babies and that is the real problem for radical Title IX proponents. Somewhere, somehow, someone has to en"gender" a common sense solution that does not destroy society and the family.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    Titile IX has led to some good opportunities as shared above but it's enforcement has led to many ridiculous and sad things in sport.

    Go to any college athletic web site and you will find that most of them have many more female opportunities or teams than men's. It is because universities have to follow gender based quotas for scholarships and participation and having a football program gets those out of balance. So for boys doing other sports their opportunities are lowered.

    Before Title IX, for example, there were nearly 300 Division I wrestling programs, now there are less than 90. Is it because participation in high school wrestling isn't as high or the quality has suffered. Neither, the quality is better than ever and participation higher than never. But opportunities for boys has lessened and not everyone can be a football player.

    I am all for Title IX and opportunity for women but it needs to be enforced differently. It was meant to provide equal access and opportunity for women but not come at the expense of opportunities for men.

  • Springvillepoet Springville, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 7:45 a.m.

    HIGV & Chris B:

    Why on earth is making certain girls have the same opportunities to compete and establish a healthy life style for themselves be a bad idea or joke? Participating in sports for women has been scientifically linked to reduction in various illnesses (cancer, heat disease, etc) reduction in incidents of domestic violence, and longevity in general. Since Title 9, participation for girls in athletics has risen at least 800%. Without Title 9, you know as well as I do, money talks, and that means football programs would simply push out women's athletics if given the chance.

    Tell you what. You go to your daughter, neighbor's daughter, cousin's daughter, niece, or son's girlfriend and tell them they do not deserve the same opportunity to compete. You tell them their health isn't as important as that of a boy's who plays football---which will never be under-funded. You tell them that while they are good enough to bear the children of your sons, they do not deserve to give themselves the best opportunity to ensure a healthy life. Tell them they are not allowed the joy of winning, bonding, or learning the lessons of competition.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    Until UHSAA mandates that there is only one officials association that services all the officials, instead of the so called "big wigs" in the "varsity" association, nothing will change.

  • taum american fork, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 7:02 a.m.

    Don't forget the availabiity of officials. Some officials will not officiate girls basketball. To improve officials you need to have more officials. A shirt and a whistle does not make an official. Competion for game assignments creates better officials. Unless there is a shortage of officials or a complaisancy in officiating..
    Hopefully all officials in Utah have a desire to improve regardless of the level of their assignment. Each game deserves the best performance an official can give. "The player has worked hard all week to play in the game you have been assigned." Give them your best and then some.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Feb. 18, 2013 5:46 a.m.

    The article says:

    "After two years, UHSAA staff shared data with principals that showed games officiated by three referees didn't take longer to play and the number of fouls was relatively similar to games that were officiated by two-ref crews."

    Same length of games, same number of fouls...If this is true, why bother with 3 officials? Are there more fights with 2 officials who "work the game?"

    3 officials seems to only matter in that it gives more referees a chance to work. I'd prefer a system that calls fewer fouls and let the game go on.

    All this equality talk is so bogus. We're a nation of spoiled brats everywhere I turn. Nice to have the same opportunity but after the nanny state leaves life and we grow up, reality hits and doesn't protect us... then somebody has to call the Waaaambulance.

  • huggyface Murray, UT
    Feb. 17, 2013 11:16 p.m.

    If the boy's games are limited to a two-man officiating crew, that would open up more spots for the higher rated refs to work more games. It's simple logistics. If the problem is that the better refs are working all of the boys games then more, higher rated refs could work the girl's games.

    It sounds like there needs to be a commitment that some of the higher rated refs work the girl's games.

  • Justmythoughts Provo, UT
    Feb. 17, 2013 8:21 p.m.

    Fairness? Try get a fair official in San Juan....won't's not a boys vs girls's thing there

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 17, 2013 6:23 p.m.

    Title nine is a joke.

  • Super Trooper Richfield, UT
    Feb. 17, 2013 6:23 p.m.

    I think this article is spot on about the fairness between boys and girls officiating, HOWEVER, the bigger problem is the quality of officials the girls get. You want to see the hierarchy of officials in the state just watch the state tourneys this weekend. The higher the classification the better the officials. Boys will also get better officials than the girls. Say what you want. It's a fact. The girls don't need three officials, they just need two QUALITY officials. Until USHAA gets that part fixed (not bashing them - its a problem I feel they are addressing) the 2 or 3 person crews are irrelevant.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Feb. 17, 2013 6:04 p.m.

    Market dictates what is best. Thing is people don't watch girls basketball men or women as much as men. Girls state championship or sub par boys game same city boys will get better attendance. Title 9 which I am not a fan of can't force anyone in the stands. Good way to get attendance to girls games, play them same night as boys so fans that come to get a good seat will see some of girls game.

    Same can be said of sub varsity games. Who outside the family and friends will watch a jv game. I live in a town were a good chunk of the community shows up to the games. Myself included.

    However Girls basketball will never be a popular spectator sport and football and boys basketball will pay the bills and fans go to that sport. As for Three man officiating that and shot clock discussed in Idaho neither though came to fruition.