To my fellow football officials,
I hope you are enjoying what little offseason we have left. Soon, the spring scrimmages will be here for those schools that partake. Some of our chapters are already starting new members training to get perspective officials ready to take the field. This early start is so beneficial to the beginning of their career. Let me remind you that these members do not have to be members to sit in on the new members training in the classroom, however, if they are assigned to work any scrimmages, they must be both TASO and Chapter members. The TASO membership portal is still open and I highly encourage you to go in and register, if you haven\'t already done so. Remember, all members, returning and perspective, are applying for membership and once the background check is completed, your membership becomes active.
Below is a synopsis of the Football Board of Directors Meeting at the Doubletree-Love Field in Dallas on Friday, February 17, 2017. For the President/Secretaries meeting, all but one chapter was in attendance and some great information and ideas were exchanged.
The 2017 Annual Meeting will be July 27-29 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, TX. The recently opened Marriott Marquis will serve as the host hotel, providing a connected elevated walkway between the hotel and convention center. The general layout in the convention center will be the same as the 2014 meeting, with the exception of a larger ballroom setting for the Saturday morning general sessions replacing the smaller auditorium that was previously used. Online registration is expected to open by May 1 with the fee structure the same as last year; $50 online, $65 at the door.
UIL Presentation, Dr. Susan Elza
The UIL Legislative Council meets each June and October. The council is looking to re-write the rules for 6A home field advantage in the playoffs to be based on seeding instead of district finish. That was the original intent, but the current rule as written does not accomplish that goal. Schools other that 6A are also interested, but the council wants to evaluate the 6A plan before moving forward with other classifications.
Schools in the 1A-4A classifications are currently assigned to divisions and the council will be voting on whether to do that for the 5A classification as well. A final vote is expected by the end of February.
The Sports Officials Committee (SOC) reports that there is absolutely no truth to a rumor that football will move to a flat fee payment for varsity games. There has been no discussion of that subject and no plans for any. The SOC continues to work on a travel solution with hopes that a new plan reviewed by the committee and surveyed to school administrators will be added to the June legislative Council agenda. If a new plan is accepted it would likely go into effect no sooner than the 2018 season.
The Football Rules Committee will soon begin meeting to discuss NCAA rule exceptions. This year there will be an additional committee that will work and review 6-man football rules only. That dedicated committee will consist of experts from the 6-man game and should allow better discussion.
Possible points of discussion for the rules committee includes:
Finance and Insurance, Don Whitaker
TASO liability and accident coverage applies to members when they are on a TASO assignment. This includes games assigned by their chapter. It will also apply to other games, such as 7-on-7 and pee wee games if those games are assigned by a TASO chapter recognized assigner. To be recognized as a chapter assigner, those members assigning pee wee or 7-on-7 games should notify their chapter with a list of leagues they assign. Each chapter must record in their meeting minutes the recognized assigner and the leagues that they assign. Recognized assigners will also be covered by TASO\'s Directors and Officers liability coverage.
With few rules and mechanics changes expected this year, clinics will get "back to the basics" with more in-depth rules coverage and discussion. The committee will begin posting pre-season video reviews every two weeks starting in Mid-March. Members are encouraged to view the clips and begin preparing for the upcoming season. The committee will also begin selecting and editing clips from the CFO website that contain information relevant to the high school game. CFO offers a reduced registration for TASO members and provides valuable training tools for those interested in preparing and improving their on-field performance.
Operating Procedures Committee
The committee reaffirmed that only current TASO and chapter members may be assigned to all chapter game assignments, including scrimmages, clocks, chain crews and observers. The board also voted to reinstate points for intra-school (one team scrimmaging itself) scrimmages for the 2017 season, with a maximum of 3 points per season. The change is in recognition that spring scrimmages are an important service for our schools and that members should receive credit for working those games when assigned by their chapter.
The test questions have been distributed to the committee for vetting and verification. Once the NCAA has confirmed any new rules or changes, those will be added to the bank of questions, with a goal of having the test available for members in June.
A task force will begin work on crew chief training material and a crew chief test that will be available to chapters that choose to use them. The goal is to provide training materials to help chapters better prepare their members.
TASO Report, Mike Fitch
TASO members raised a total of $48,422.85 during last year\'s Provide-A-Ride campaign. Thanks to TASO\'s donation, on December 17 Gridiron Heroes presented a wheelchair accessible van to Corey Borner, a former player at Desoto High School. The presentation was made in the West Plaza of AT&T Stadium prior to that day\'s state championship games. The excitement and genuine gratitude by Mr. Borner and his family showed what a truly great project this was, thanks to those members who contributed. And to cap what was already a great day, later that afternoon Corey watched from the sidelines as his Desoto Eagles won their first state championship.
While recruiting is so very important, member retention is also crucial for chapters to meet the game demands from an ever-growing list of schools. Overall membership grew 0.8% in the 2016 season, and the average age of a new member is 37. Recruiting and retaining younger members is key to sustaining our chapters.
The following mechanics changes were approved for the 2017 season:
If you have any questions, please reach out to your chapter leadership, your District Director, or your State Officers. We realize we are working for you. Stay focused in the rules, continue with your study groups and keep up with your physical fitness. Stay in shape.
Looking forward to another great season for TASO Football. We can\'t do it without each and every one of you.
TASO Football President