JUL 31


On July 25 more than 2,100 TASO Football members came together online for the first ever TASO Live Webinar. The live‑streamed event was produced from a professional studio in Dallas and included a general session, rules changes, information regarding officiating during the pandemic as well as three topics that had been scheduled for the in‑person Annual Meeting.

President John Miller opened the live event, recognizing two very important members for their achievements and dedicated service to TASO. Mr. Miller presented TASO Life Member Awards to Dotson Lewis and Rogers Redding. Mr. Lewis also received the Sam Brown Award, making him one of only three recipients.

That was followed by TASO Executive Director Michael Fitch speaking on Officiating in a COVID‑19 World. Mike covered many topics of concern to officials, including safe practices for travel to and from games, arrival at the game site, and new guidelines before and during games. Mr. Fitch reminded all to respect other officials by removing themselves from games if they develop symptoms and to self‑isolate, following CDC guidelines. If you develop symptoms and have not been tested, you should assume you are positive for the virus.

Mr. Fitch then welcomed Dr. Susan Elza, UIL Director of Athletics and Bryan Bunselmeyer, TAPPS Executive Director. Each spoke to the steps their organizations have made toward the 2020 football season, safety concerns for keeping players, coaches and administrators safe and the challenges posed by guidelines from multiple jurisdictions that are affecting school openings.

Mike Wise, TASO Football Director of Training then presented a session on 2020 Rules Changes and UIL Exceptions. The presentation included slides and video as well as a short question and answer period. While the NCAA made relatively few changes for this season, defensive alignment during scrimmage kicks and an editorial change affecting Team A players going out of bounds during free and scrimmage kick downs generated a lot of discussion.

The afternoon concluded with breakout sessions on Penalty Enforcement, presented by Brian Ernest; Holding, presented by Rod McLain; and Targeting, presented by Robert Cameron.

The current pandemic has required many challenges for every person across the world, making it impossible for each of us to approach things in the “normal” way. From those challenges come exciting new experiences, and the TASO Live Webinar was an overall positive experience for all involved.