Football Board February Meeting Recap
by John Miller, TASO Football President
The TASO‑Football Board had its winter meeting in Dallas on February 22, 2019 to discuss and plan procedures, mechanics and training for the upcoming year.
I am pleased to inform you that Houston will host our Annual Meeting this July 26th and 27th at the Marriott Waterway in The Woodlands. Further, we have already entered into an agreement for the 2020 Annual Meeting on July 24th and 25th back in Allen Texas. This time around Dallas will be hosting the meeting at the brand new Marriott Watters Creek. We are very excited about both of these venues.
Our committees reported the following:
The committee plans to complete bi‑weekly preseason training videos beginning over the next few weeks. Preseason videos will focus on “Back to the Basics” and will feature one to two topics and be a bit shorter than videos from past seasons. It is very important that chapters communicate any training areas they identify through film review or comments from coaches. The committee will continue to use CFO videos that will be edited to comply with TASO mechanics and UIL rule exceptions. If a member has video editing skills of a nice “announcer” voice for video, and would like to assist the Education Committee, please contact your district Director.
Date was set to end acceptance of new member applications for the Friday of Week 8.
Verbiage was added to clarify that no points are awarded for the on‑line clinic.
There were numerous editorial changes.
The board approved a change to the Umpire’s initial position on crews of 5 and 7 officials. The Umpire may now take an initial position between 5‑10 yards from the line of scrimmage.
The committee also proposed sideline officials changing sidelines for the second half. After much discussion, the board has asked the committee to continue working on details for the change for crews of 7 officials and to report back to the board with a recommendation.
Testing:Tests will be available to members no later than July. There was discussion from the Testing Committee about separate tests for rules and mechanics, with each test based on crew size. The committee is also working on a plan for weekly tests that can be used as a training tool for members and chapters. TASO also has a Crew Chief test that is available to chapters that would like to use it for their Crew Chief training or certification.
We were joined by Dr. Susan Elza, UIL Director of Athletics, and the following highlights some of the information she shared:
• We were informed of a certification that all high school coaches will be required to attend relating to tackling techniques. The hope is that these techniques will lead to reductions in head trauma and result in a safer game for players.
• Instant replay at the State Championship games was considered a success and it looks like it is here to stay. Overall, there were 28 reviews that added an average of about 6 minutes to each game broadcast. Of those 28, 18 reviews were overturned, 5 were confirmed, and 5 stood. Personally, I felt that all the Referees did an outstanding job.
• It was noted that in all 12 State Championship games, the specific Chapters were SELECTED by the competing teams, and 8 of those 12 actually selected a particular crew.
We were also joined by Coach Johnny Tusa from Waco ISD who now also wears the hat of Chairman of the Officials Committee with the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association. Coach Tusa wanted to pass on his organizations gratitude for the job we undertake in officiating high school football in Texas. He believes that their organization is the best in the Country and the job we do as TASO‑Football officials is a huge part of that success.
On Saturday, the 23rd , we had the opportunity to meet with Representatives from the 23 individual Chapters from across the State. The following information was discussed and is presented for your review and retention:
• We have to improve in the reporting of misapplications of rules. We all know that on any given Thursday, Friday and Saturday night there are rules that are misapplied. Last season, there was a total of one form filed with the TASO office. These filings are not intended to be punitive but educational in nature; and the purpose of the filing with the TASO office is simply to make the office aware of the issues when calls from the UIL and Schools occur. Having the statistical data of these occurrences will allow Mike Wise to develop training materials specific to these issues.
• Incident Reports continue to be a high priority and are an important communication tool for members, chapters, TASO and the UIL. As a reminder, members should file an Incident Report for “anything that interrupts the NORMAL flow of the game.” It’s not just for something the officials might think is serious. If the game is stopped for a dog running across the field, a report should be filed. Incident Report Links for both the UIL and Private schools is available along the top rale at taso.org.
• I challenged the individual Chapter leaders to be cognizant of the social environment today and to develop training within their Chapters to minimize potential issues. Be aware of acceptable discussions and contact with auxiliary student personnel before, during and after games. Be smart.
• I also challenged the Chapter leaders to strive for consistency across the State with our sideline mechanics and control. It was not too long ago that 5 friends of mine were sued because of an unfortunate sideline collision. When it occurs, all officials on the field are held accountable. Watching the Championship games and HUDL films, I can see that we are a long way from being consistent.
The level of official that you want to become lies solely in your wheel house. Don’t be complacent this off‑season. Keep your mind and body in shape and be ready for kickoff.
See you in Houston,